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2O60937 




Wolfe Tone. 



BULMER HOB SON 




MARTIN LESTER, LTD. 



OAWSON STREET, :: 



DUBLIN. 



/O SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE NETT. 



THE 
LETTERS OF THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



"Unhappy is the man and the 
nation, whose destiny depends on 
the will of another. 

TONE. 



THE LETTERS OF 
WOLFE TONE. 



EDITED BY 
BULMER HOBSON. 



MARTIN LESTER, LTD., 
44 DAWSON STREET, DUBLIN. 



PRINTED BY THE ATHLONE PRINTING WORKS 
COMPANY, LIMITED, ATHL,ON E. 



INTRODUCTION. 



THE autobiographical writings of \\olfeToneand John 
Mitchel's Jail Journal may well rank as the two 
best books produced under the influence of the national 
idea in modern Ireland. To which should be ascribed 
first place will depend upon the critic's individual 
taste. 

The Jail Journal was written not merely to while 
away the tedium of imprisonment, but as an exposition 
of Mitchel's opinions, and was published as soon as 
opportunity offered, while, on the other hand, Tone 
' wrote his Journal for his wife and a small circle of 
intimate friends, and there is no evidence to show 
that he ever contemplated their publication to a wider 
circle. It is to this fact that much of the charm of 
his autobiography is due, for few men could have 
written so intimately of every private concern for 
the public, and certainly Tone was not of their number. 
If he ever had any idea of ultimate publication he 
could only have regarded his Journals as a quarry 
from which a future biographer might select his 
materials, and not as a work to be published with 



20GO937 



INTRODUCTION 



the few excisions which his son made in preparing 
them for the printer. It is extremely fortunate 
that this should be so, for it would have been a very 
different and a very inferior book were it written 
in the stilted and formal phrasing that passed current 
in the publications of the end of the eighteenth century. 
Of the autobiography itself, though much has been 
preserved, a great deal has unfortunately been lost. 
In October, 1796, Tone's wife and children were in 
America and preparing to join him in France. They 
left the Journals of 1791-2-3-4 and 5, together with 
the manuscripts of his pamphlets and newspaper 
articles and the materials for a Political History of 
Ireland which he had collected, in the care of Dr. 
Reynolds of Philadelphia. Reynolds was a United 
Irishman who had, like Tone, been involved in the 
conspiracy of the Rev. William Jackson in Ireland 
in 1794, and had gone to America when Jackson was 
arrested. When Tone also went to America in the 
following year, Reynolds was settled in Philadelphia, 
and when he left his family and set off on his great 
mission to France, Dr. Reynolds acted as the trusted 
friend and adviser of Mrs. Tone. In one of her letters 
to Thomas Russell (October 9th, 1796), Mrs. Tone 
speaks in the highest terms of the kindness and 
attention she had received from Reynolds, but 
unfortunately he did not, after they had gone to 



INTRODUCTION. 



Europe, take any care of Tone's papers, and when 
his son returned to claim them many years after- 
wards, a great part had been lost irrevocably. A 
few fragments only of the earlier Journals could be 
found, those of 1793-4 and 5 were gone, as well as 
most of the other papers entrusted to the careless 
hands of Reynolds. 

The loss is very great for it was during those missing 
years that the seed was sown which was harvested 
in blood in 1798; it was in those years that the Society 
of United Irishmen grew from being the debating 
ground of a few ardent spirits to the closely knit 
organisation that absorbed all the virile forces on 
the national side in Ireland, and Tone, better than 
any other, could have revealed to us the hidden 
workings of those fruitful, eventful years had his 
Journals not had been lost. The letters, now published 
for the first time, will not make good this loss; only 
three of them, indeed, belong to the early period, 
but though they shed little new light upon the 
political happenings of the time, they are full of 
the gaiety that made lone beloved by his contem- 
poraries, and they will be welcomed by all who have 
come to know and to love the man who has portrayed 
himself so wonderfully in the autobiography. 

In the following pages no attempt will be made 
to write a new biography of Tone for that the reader 



INTRODUCTION. 



must be referred to his own and biographical details 
will be only given so far as they are necessary 
to make the references in the letters clear. 
As it would be impossible to write any substitute 
for the autobiography, I shall seek to do no more 
than to supplement it with the letters that I have 
been fortunate enough to find scattered among several 
collections of old papers, and it is merely as a supple- 
ment to Tone's own great book that I offer them 
to the reader. 

I have included in this volume the letters published 
in the first edition of the autobiography (Washington, 
1826), together with several not hitherto published 
and it is possible that others may yet come to light. 

If any readers can assist in tracing other published 
or unpublished letters of Tone's, their co-operation 
will be very warmly welcomed by the editor. 

B.H. 



THE 
LETTERS OF THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 

1. IX IRELAND. 

Wolfe Tone's entry into Irish politics may be said 
to date definitely from the publication of his first 
pamphlet, " A Review of the Last Session of Parlia- 
ment," in 1790. He was at that time, twenty-seven 
years of age. The pamphlet was a defence of the 
Whig Club which had been started by Lord Charlemont, 
Henry Grattan, and George Ponsonby, and which 
was at the moment, the object of attack by every 
hired scribe that the Government of the day could 
enlist in the service. The object of the Club was to press 
for a reform in the Irish Parliament, but its members 
were not the men to push reform very far. Like the 
Liberals of our own time, their precepts were models 
of enlightenment and justice while their actions 
were weak, vacillating or often flagrantly dishonest. 
Tone, when he wrote in their defence, was not unaware 
of their weakness: 

Though I was very far from entirely approving 
the system of the Whig Club, and much less their 
principles and motives, yet, seeing them at the 



THE LETT KRS OF 



time the best constituted political bod}' which the 
country afforded, and agreeing with most of their 
positions, though my own private opinions went 
infinitely farther, I thought I could \ 7 enture on their 
defence without violating my own consistency. 
This support of the Whig Club went no further 
r than his pamphlet. His was a mind, not to be satisfied 
with a superficial view ; he sought the root causes cf 
the trouble in Ireland, and he quickly found them. 

A closer examination into the situation of my 
native country had very considerably extended 
my views, and as I was sincerely and honestly at- 
tached to her interests, I soon found reason not to 
regret that the Whigs had not thought me an object 
worthy of their cultivation. I made speedily 
what was to me a great discovery, though I might 
have found it in Swift and Molyneux, that the 
influence of England was the radical vice of our 
Government, and consequently, that Ireland would 
never be either free, prosperous, or happy, until 
she was independent, and that independence was 
unattainable whilst the connection with England 
existed. 

Having formed his theory, Tone devoted the rest 
of his life to the attempt to put it into practice, and 
in this, he was greatly assisted and encouraged by 
a friendship which he formed at this period (1790) 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



with Thomas Russell. They met by chance one 
day in the Gallery of the House of Commons, and 
entered into a discussion on the politics of the day. 
Russell was a supporter of the Whigs, while Tone 
had outgrown that creed, and was full of his rapidly 
forming plans for a union of all classes in Ireland 
to break the connection with England. The acquain- 
tance so casually formed ripened quickly into friendship, 
and from that time on, they worked in the closest 
associations, Russell coming completely to share 
Tone's political views. Several of the letters, to be 
quoted in the succeeding pages, were written to 
Russell, and the originals are to be found among 
Russell's papers, in the library of Trinity College, 
Dublin. 

In the year following that in which the friendship 
of Tone and Russell commenced, the latter left Dublin 
and went to Belfast to join his regiment. He had 
just been appointed. an Ensign in the 6-4th Regiment 
of Foot, then quartered in that town, a position 
which he only held for a few months. In Belfast, 
he found that the opinions which he and Tone had 
shared in Dublin were already stirring amongst the 
most enlightened of the merchants there. 

At that period, the politics of Belfast, and particu- 
larly of the Volunteer movement, were principally 
controlled by a secret committee consisting of Samuel 



io THE LETTERS OF 



Neilson, Thomas MacCabe, William vSinclair, \\ illiam 
and Robert Simms, and a few others. 

These men were the most far-seeing and statesman- 
like of their contemporaries, and with them Russell 
entered into the closest association and intimacy, 
and it was through him that Tone also was brought 
into touch with them. Out of that alliance, the 
Society of United Irishmen shortly afterwards came. 

Tone's connection with the Catholic Committee 
was also indirectly brought about by the stay of 
his friend, Russell, in Belfast. The most enlightened 
of the Protestant community in that town were 
strongly in favour of the abolition of the Penal I^aws 
against the Catholics, but there was a considerable 
section still opposed to the admission of Irish Catholics 
to the most elementary rights of citizenship. At a 
meeting of the Belfast Volunteers, a declaration 
respecting the Catholic claims was proposed, but met 
with so much opposition that it had to be withdrawn. 
This declaration had been written by Tone at Russell's 
request, and its rejection forced him to consider anew 
the relations existing between the various sections 
of the Irish people. He thus records the result of his 
reflections in one of the most striking passages in 
all his writings: 

Russell wrote me an account of all this, and it 

immediately set me thinking more seriously than 



THEQBALD WOLFE TONE. n 

I had yet done upon the state of Ireland. I soon 
formed my theory, and on that theory I have 
unvaryingly acted ever since. 

To subvert the tyranny of our execrable Govern- 
ment, to break the connection with England, 
the never-failing source of all our political evils, 
and to assert the independence of my country 
these were my objects. To unite the whole people 
of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissen - 
sions, and to substitute the common name of 
Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, 
Catholic, and Dissenter these were my means. 
As a step towards bringing the Dissenters and 
Catholics together he published in September, 1791, 
a pamphlet entitled " An Argument on behalf of the 
Catholics of Ireland," the object of which was to 
convince the Dissenters that they and the Catholics 
" had but one common interest and one common 
enemy; that the depression and slavery of Ireland 
was produced and perpetuated by the divisions 
existing between them." This pamphlet met with 
much success, and both the Catholics and the Belfast 
Dissenters printed and circulated large editions. 
It had the important result of introducing Tone to 
the Catholic Committee, to none of the members of 
which he was known when the pamphlet was written, 
and shortlv afterwards he became their secretary 



12 THE LKTTKRS OF 



and agent. His arguments were no less successful 
with the Belfast people, and the first or Green Company 
of the Belfast Volunteers elected him an honorary 
member, and he was invited to visit the north to 
assist at the birth of the Society of United Irishmen. 
Tone went to Belfast in October, 1791, accompanied 
by Thomas Russell, who had, in the meantime, left 
the Army and returned to Lublin. The Society of 
United Irishmen was successfully launched, and its 
declaration, written by Tone, was to form for the 
next few years the rallying ground of all that was 
best in Irish political life. Only one letter written 
to Mrs. Tone during this visit has been preserved. 
It was published in Tone's Life, edited by his son 
in 1826. 

BELFAST, October 20, 1791. 
My Dearest Life and Soul, 

I wrote a few posts since, just to let you know 
that I was alive and well. I did not tell you any 
news as I Journalise everything, and promise 
myself great pleasure from reading my papers over 
with you. I have christened Russell by the name 
of P.P., Clerk of this Parish, and he makes a very 
conspicuous figure in my memoirs. If you do not 
know who P.P. was, the joke will be lost on you. 
I find the people here extremely civil; I have dined 
out every day since I came here, and have now more 



TKKOBALD WOLFE TONE. 13 

engagements than I can possibly fulfil. I did hope 
to get away on Sunday, but I fear I shall not be 
able to move before Thursday. You cannot 
conceive how much this short absence has endeared 
you to me. You think it is better for us to be 
always together, but I am sure from my own experi- 
ence you are wrong; for I cannot leave you now, 
though but for one week, that I do not feel my 
heart cling to you and to our dear little ones. 
I have no more to say but to desire my love to all 
of you, and am dearest love, ever yours. If you 
have not written before this you need not write; I 
wish, however, I had one letter from you. 

T. W. TONE. 

P.S. Dear Matty: As to anything your wise 
husband may have said of me, I neither desire to 
know, nor do I care. It is sufficient, generally, 
" / had a friend." I am at present, composing a 
pretty moral treatise on temperance, and will 
dedicate it to myself as I don't know who is likely 
to profit so much by it. Pray, give my love to 
your virgin daughter and infant progeny. " God 
bless everybody." Yours, till death. P.P. 

P.S. P.P. has been scribbling his bit of nonsense. 
He is a great fool, and I have much trouble to 
manage him. I assure you that you will be much 
amused by his exploits in my Journal, which is a 



14 . THE BETTERS OF 

thousand times wittier than Swift's, as in Justice 
it ought; for it is written for the amusement of one 
a thousand times more amiable than Stella. 1 
conclude in the words of my friend P.P. God bless 
everybody. 

P.S.- P.P. calls me " his friend Mr. John Mutton," 
but God knows the heart. He is writing a Journal, 
but mine is worth fifty of it. 

After a stay of three weeks in Belfast, " which 
I look back upon as perhaps the pleasantest in my 
life," Tone, accompanied by Russell, returned to 
Dublin, determined to found a club of the United 
Irishmen in the capital. This they shortly accom- 
plished, and the United Irishmen of Dublin, with 
the Hon. Simon Butler as Chairman, and James 
Napper Tandy as Secretary, adopted the declaration 
of the Belfast Society and opened a correspondence 
with them. The Society, both in Dublin and Belfast, 
spread with great rapidity, and in its membership 
Catholics and Protestants came together in a new 
and firm union. Throughout Ulster the movement 
quickly extended its sway, and in Connacht great 
progress was made. The other two provinces accepted 
it more, slowly, but its influence in healing the old 
dissensions and feuds that had separated Irishmen 
into hostile factions was felt throughout the whole 
of Ireland. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 15 

A letter from Tone to his wife, written at the end of 
1791, gives a glowing description of the enthusiasm 
evoked by the new movement. Mrs. Tone was 
staying, probably at Prosperous, in Co. Kildare, 
and her husband was in Dublin when it was written. 
Dear Love, 

I have nothing more to say than that affairs 
are going on here swimmingly. We have got up 
a club of United Irishmen in Dublin, similar to 
that in Belfast, who have adopted our resolutions, 
with a short preface. We have pretty well secured 
all Connaught, and are righting out the other two 
provinces. It is wonderful with what zeal, spirit, 
activity, and secrecy all things are conducted. 
I have dined with divers Papists, and in particular 
with Lord Dunsany, who lately reformed, but is 
still a good Catholic in his heart. He begged the 
honour of my acquaintance, and I shall call on 
him to-morrow. My book* is running like wildfire. 
The Castle has got hold of the story, but very 
imperfectly. All they know is that the disorder 
broke out in Belfast and was carried there by one 
Toole or Toomey, or some such name, a lawyer. 
I suppose they will endeavour to find out this 
Mr. Toole or Toomey, or whatever his name is. 

George Ponsonby is, on a sudden, grown vastly 
*An argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland (1791; 



i(> THE LETTERS OF 



civil and attentive .... and so much for 
politics. I learn and I am sorry that you have 
got a return of the pain in your head. Willy* is 
growing too strong for you, and therefore, I beg 
you may wean him immediately. He is old enough 
now and you must not injure your own health for 
that little monkey, especially when you know how 
precious your health is to me. 

My stay in town is of such infinite consequence 
that I am sure you would not wish me to quit 
whilst things are in their present train. If you 
can get Maryf down I shall be very happy; I leave 
it to you as I am with my head, hands, and heart 
.so full of business that I have hardly time to sub- 
scribe myself. Yours. T.W.T. J 
During the year 1792, Tone was taken up almost 
entirely with his work as secretary of the Catholic 
Committee, and he exercised no small influence upon 
the fortunes of that body. His appointment coincided 
with the ending of a disastrous period, when deserted 
by thek erstwhile leaders and openly flouted by 
every creature of the Government,the political fortunes 
of the Irish Catholics were at a very low ebb. To 
the improvement that followed, Tone materially 
contributed and there can be no doubt that had the 

* Their eldest son, born 1790. 

t Tone's only sister. 

J This letter was published in Tone's Life, by hs son 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



Catholic leaders been more swayed by his advice 
than they were the illusory concessions which they 
won in the following year, would have been both 
more extensive and of greater practical value. He 
still, however, found time to do much towards recon- 
ciling the feuds between Protestant and Catholic 
so deliberately fomented by the faction which con- 
trolled the Government of Ireland. The leading 
members of the Catholic Committee and* many of the 
Dissenters of Belfast joined in this work, and their 
success in promoting a union amongst Irishmen 
quickly alarmed a Government whose power was 
based so largely upon the maintenance of disunion. 
On this work, Tone repeatedly travelled to many 
parts of Ireland and had the satisfaction of seeing 
the Society of United Irishmen rapidly become a 
potent factor in Irish affairs. 

While immersed in politics the numberless friendships 
which he had formed were never suffered to lapse, 
and few men so absorbed in public life found time 
for so complete an enjoyment of social events, and the 
company of his wife and children. In the few letters 
to his friend Russell which have been preserved there 
is less of politics than of gaiety * and affection. Among 
the Russell papers* are two letters, the first of which 
was written partly by Mrs. Tone and partly by her 
* Papers of Thomas Russell. Library of T.C., I). 



i8 THE LETTERS OF 



husband, and addressed to Russell's sister, which 
show well the depth of affection existing between 
the two men. 

(In Mrs. Tone's writing): 

Thursday, September. 
My Dear Miss Russell, 

I received your kind letter and Tom's note, 
which I would have answered immediately only I 
expected to go to see my William every Sunday 
since and I wished to give you some account ot 
our darling boy as I know it would be interesting 
to you. Tone has constantly disappointed me, 
and though he has promised to come with me next 
Sunday certainly, I shall wait no longer. 

Will you excuse me if I write you a ladylike 
letter and tell you that I am to dine to-day at 
Mr. Dixon's at Kilmainham with a horrible large 
company. I have been invited frequently and 
always sent an apology, but to-day it was impossible. 
I never saw one of the family, and I am frightened 
out of my wits. I am to be as fine as a jay. 

I spent the other evening with Mrs. Poitier, 
and, indeed, my spirits were quite sunk at being 
in the house where I spent so many pleasant days 
with you and your dear father, I could not raise 
them the whole evening. I believe I recollected 
particularly every day that we spent together 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 19 

since I know you, and Tom's coming down to 
Irishtown and eating a herring with us after shearing 
he would not come. We have no such friends now. 

Will you return him my sincere thanks for his 
charming note. Tell him that I have put it up with 
" volumes which I prize above my Dukedom " 
and that (as my Maria says) I am always striving 
to be good in hopes that I may one day deserve 
the kind things he says to me. If all men knew 
how to treat women as Tom does, we would be much 
better than we are. 

(The letter is here continued in Wolfe Tone's 
writing): 

Mrs. Tone has been writing some of her stuff 
and I must finish it, she says, while she is dressing. 
Will you tell Tom from me that he owes me a letter, 
and this makes two. My last was a long one, 
though there was nothing in it! I see by the papers 
that Colonel Knox is got safe as far as London ; 
he arrived in the Essex. 

I wish to God we had Ambrose and Nancy (you 
see I have got her name), over and I think we 
should make out a pleasant set. As for you, Mr. 
Tom, it is very hard that you will not answer a 
body's letter when they write to you. How did 
you like Kudex*? I sent one to Jack by the same 

* Probably refers to a newspaper article written by Tone and 
siimed Kudex. 



20 THE LETTERS OF 

post that I last wrote to you, but he had some 
good breeding and answered my letter in one con- 
taining many civil things, etc., etc. 

I am going to dine at your friend, Dixon's. I 
would rather than all the money in my pocket, 
which amounts to no less a sum than i8s. 5d. 
sterling, that I had you and Jack* to dine with 
me to-day. Mrs. Tone has said, and God knows 
how truly, that " we have no such friends as you 
now." You will see in a Northern Star-f soon a 
short view of the Constitution of America done 
by me. It is only an abridgment from one of 
two books. Give my love sincerely to your father 
and believe me sincerely yours, BUREAU DE Puzv.J 
September 5th, 1792. 

I wore my Belfast regimentals last Sunday- 
Every soldier I met saluted me and all the Sentries 
carried their arms, etc., etc. I do assure you I 
was fool enough to be excessively pleased -much 
more than you would think I could be with such 
a trifle. I subjoin some lines from that sublime 
genius, O'Keeffe, very applicable to the present 
subject and proper to be kept in all families : 
As I pass the Sentry box, 
Soldiers rest their bright firelocks, 

>; Ru ssell's brothers. 

-1'The Organ of the Northern United Irishmen;published in Belfast 

J Tone used many nicknames 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 21 



Each about his musquet knocks, 

Rattle-dum, slap, to me. 

I am sure the fellows took me for the Dutch 
Bronswig or Marshall Saxe, or Frederic the Second, 
or Major Read, or some such great commander. 
Direct to me at the College, I am leaving my lodgings* 

Dear Tom, 

I have just received yours, and should be much 
more shocked than I am, but that I have been 
acquainted with your heavy loss this some time 
back in a manner which I am now to inform you of. 
The day that you left my cabin on your way to 
town, a letter came for you (which I now enclose) 
with the seal broken. You will see that the direction 
is remarkably like Digge's handwriting, at least, 
I thought so. Under those circumstances, and being 
curious to know his fate, I did not consider it any 
breach of confidence in me, the letter being in fact, 
open, to look at the contents, which I was equally 
disappointed and distressed at finding to be the 
news of your brother's death. When I recovered 
the first shock I was, for some time, at a loss whether 
I should communicate the letter to you or keep it 
back, arid at last consulting with Matty, whose 
concern was equal to my own, we resolved to withhold 
* This incident is recorded in his Journal tor ist September, 'g^. 



THE LET1ERS OF 



it for some time. We knew you were about going 
to Belfast and we both thought so severe a blow 
coming upon you at a time when your situation 
was so unsettled, otherwise* might be too much 
for your resolution, or, indeed, for that of an)' man. 
We also thought that ill -tidings would come at all 
times soon enough, and, therefore, on the whole, 
we resolved to lay by the letter for some little 
time. As you are informed from another quarter, I 
now enclose it to you, and I hope you will in justice 
to our motive forgive our keeping it back so long. 
We have saved you some weeks additional distress. 

With regard to consolation, as I would not receive 
it under your circumstances, I shall not pretend 
to offer it. Time alone will remove your grief, 
and it is some comfort that it will, however slowly, 
certainly remove it. A more solid comfort you may 
draw from the reflection that your sister has still 
a friend willing, and I trust in God, able to assist her. 
I can assure you I feel deeply on her account, but 
a great part of my uneasiness is removed by the 
receipt of your letter. 

To come to ordinary business, I sent your trunk 

by the Mail Coach on Monday week, so I hope 

you have it before this. I directed it to you in 

Belfast, so if it has not reached you, I suppose it 

* Russell -was in financial difficulties. 



1HBOBALD WOLFE 1OXE. 



is h'ing at the Inn. I also made diligent search 
as you desired for Digges' note, which, however, 
I was not able to find. I believe I wrote you word 
so, but you do not seem to have got my letter; 
those, I believe, were your only commissions to me. 

In return, I will beg of you to speak to my friend, 
McCracken about Arthur.* He is so intolerably 
idle that we can get no good of him, and besides seems 
bent on the sea, and my theory is that it is foolish 
to struggle against a propensity of that kind. I 
cannot find he is in any way vicious but he mitches 
perpetually from school and runs away to the 
Co. Kildare, &c.| So I think it best to let him have 
his fling; perhaps a voyage or two may cool him. 
He is a fine, smart boy, just turned of twelve, and 
stout enough. Read this to McCracken and let 
me know his answer as soon as you can. 

Adieu, dear Tom, I will only add to this by 
suggesting that assiduous employment is, I believe, 
the most effectual remedy for grief. Write by 
return of post, and let us know how you are. You 
have not in any of your letters said one word of 
yourself, which is unkind. Matty sends her love 
most heartily to you, and I am, dear Tom, yours 
very sincerely, T. W. TONE. 
Harch I2th, 1794. 

*Tones youngest brother. 
t Matthew Tone was living at Prosperous, Co. Kildare. 



24 THE LETTERS OF 

Affairs in Ireland marched fast in the latter years 
of the eighteenth century. The French Revolution, 
following the American War of Independence stirred 
the people from the lethargy that had oppressed them 
ever since the disastrous conclusion of the Williamite 
war. The Penal Laws, submitted to with a patience 
strangely tragic and terrible were, towards the end 
of the century and under the new influences stirring 
throughout Europe, no longer easily to be borne. 
The Volunteer movement of 1782 and the liberation 
of Ireland from English law-making had seemed 
to promise a new era of liberty to a people crushed 
under a system of serfdom that can hardly be paralleled 
in modern history. But the fair promises of 1782 
were unmatched by any performances that could 
bring relief to the Irish People. The Volunteers 
after a brief though glorious period of activity were 
by their poltroon leaders allowed, where they were 
not encouraged, to lapse into a nominal and ineffective 
existence. The Irish Parliament which had been 
liberated by the enthusiasm and courage of the people 
was controlled by a small class of landlords who 
were as selfish as they were blind to their own and 
their country's interests. They had by the help 
of the people secured a great measure of political 
autonomy and only by the strength of the people 
could they hope to retain it from the jealous and 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 25 

grasping caste that was the Government of 
England. 

As arrogant as they were blind, they kicked away 
the ladder on which they had mounted to the seat 
of Government they spurned their natural support 
and wanting it came in a few years tumbling down, 
involving the whole of Ireland in the ruin that their 
narrow folly had brought upon them. 

Tone described the Revolution of 1782 by which 
the Irish Parliament had won a nominal autonomy 
in the following terms: 

I have said that we have no National Government. 
Before the year 1782 it was not pretended that 
we had. I assert that the Revolution of 1782 
was the most bungling, imperfect business that ever 
threw ridicule on a lofty epithet by assuming it 
unworthily; it is not pleasant to any Irishman to 
make such a confession, but it cannot be helped 
if the truth will have it so; it is much better we 
should know and feel our real state than delude 
ourselves or be gulled by our enemies with praises 
which we do not deserve or imaginary blessings 
which we do not enjoy. 

I leave it to the admirers, of that era to vent flowing 

. declamations on its theoretical advantages, and 

its visionary glories ; it is a fine subject, and 

peculiarly flattering to my countrymen. Be mine 



26 THK LETTERS OF 



the unpleasing task to strip of its plumage and 
its tinsel and shew the naked figure. 

The Revolution of 1782 was a revolution which 
enabled Irishmen to sell, at a much higher price, 
their honour, their integrity, and the interests of 
their country ; it was a Revolution which, while 
at one stroke it doubled the value of every borough - 
monger in the Kingdom, left three-fourths of our 
countrymen slaves as it found them, and the 
Government of Ireland in the base and wicked and 
contemptible hands, who had s'pent their lives in 
degrading and plundering her. Who of the veteran 
enemies of the country lost his place or his pension ? 
Who was called forth to station or office from the 
ranks of the opposition ? Not one. The power 
remained in the hands of our enemies, again, to be 
exerted for our ruin, with this difference : that, 
formerly, we had our distresses, our injuries, and 
our insults gratis, at the hands of England ; but 
now we pay very dearly to receive the same with 
aggravation through the hands of Irishmen, an 
administration consisting numerically of the indivi- 
duals who had opposed the extension of your 
commerce in 1779, and the amelioration of your 
constitution in 1782. You find, or you are utterly 
senseless, that you have no weight whatsoever ; 
that administration despise and laugh at you, 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 27 

and that while you remain in your present state 

of apathy and ignorance, they will continue to 

insult and to condemn you. 

This criticism of the Irish Parliament was written in 
1791, and was amply justified. Tone saw that a 
sweeping reform of its constitution was first necessary 
and for this he laboured both in the Society of United 
Irishmen and in the Catholic Committee until the 
futility of expecting any reform from that thoroughly 
corrupted bod}- became apparent, he then laboured 
to overturn it and to establish an independent Irish 
Republic. 

Tone's mentral progress during this period and his 
final acceptance of the uselessness of expecting 
either honesty or good policy. from the corrupt gang 
who called themselves the Government of Ireland 
at this period is best portrayed in his autobiography 
and to that immortal book my readers are referred. 
It were futile to attempt an account of what he 
himself has written so incomparably well. It is 
sufficient here to brief ly record events and to trace 
his actions so far as is necessary to the understanding 
of the few letters which have survived. 

The history, too, of his worV for and with the Catholic 
Committee, of his endeavours to strengthen the 
Catholic demand for the abolition of the infamous 
Penal Code and to stiffen the attitude of some of the 



28 THK LETTERS OF 

Catholic leaders in their dealings with the Government 
must also be passed over. These efforts ended in 
partial success and partial failure. For the success 
he was largely responsible, while for the failure he was 
in no wise to blame. Seen now in the calm perspective 
of history it is undoubted that where their action 
coincided with Tone's advice they won ; where it 
differed from it they lost; and after -events have amply 
proved him more far-seeing and more statesmanlike 
than any of his much vanted contemporaries. 

The progress of the revolution in France was 
watched with breathless interest by the most ardent 
spirits in Ireland who saw in the French victories 
the promise of a new freedom for all oppressed people,,. 
This view was fully shared by Tone. In his Journal, 
under the date of October nth, 1792, he refers to 
the campaign of Dumourier against the arm}- of the 
Duke of Brunswick. A report had been circulated 
that Dumourier had been defeated. When the 
story turned out to be untrue, Tone comments: 
" Huzza ! If the French had been beaten it was 
all over with us." 

Holding such views, it is not to be wondered at 
that he was ready when opportunity offered to seek 
aid for Ireland from the new republic that was success- 
fully confronting the hoary tyrannies of Europe. 
Hopeless of reform at home, it was natural that many 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 29 

Irishmen should look abroad for any sign of deliverance. 

The French Government at this time began to give 
some attention to Ireland as a possible vantage 
ground from which they could strike at England. 
In 1794, they sent the Rev. William Jackson who 
had for some years been resident in Paris to report 
upon the conditions prevailing in the country. Tone 
was introduced to Jackson by Leonard MacNally, 
and these three had several conversations relative 
to the state of Ireland, and to the desirability of 
seeking for French help to establish Irish Independence. 
Jackson had drawn up a memorandum on the state 
of England, and Tone was asked to write a similar 
statement on the conditions in Ireland presumably 
for the information of the Committee of Public Safety 
in Paris. This paper he gave to MacNally 

The indiscrete Jackson had as his travelling com- 
panion, a spy employed by Pttt, and Leonard MacNally 
though unsuspected during his lifetime has since 
been found to have engaged in the same sinister 
service. In consequence, Jackson was arrested 
(April, 1794). Hamilton Rowan who had also been 
in communication with him fled to France but 
Tone determined to stand his ground and await 
developments. He went to a friend who was in the con- 
fidence of the Government, and frankly told him of his 
situation. To this friend he summed up his position in 



30 THE LETTERS OF 

the following terms : " What I had done I had done, 
and if necessary, I must pay the penalty; but as my 
ruin might not be an object to the Government, 
I was ready if I were allowed, and could at all accom- 
plish it to go to America." The Government were 
not anxious to press the case against him, and accor- 
dingly, after Jackson's trial he prepared to emigrate 
with his family to the United States. 

In making this compromise with the Government, 
Tone recognised that the Jackson affair had definitely 
terminated his usefulness to the cause of Ireland 
at home, inasmuch as it was within the power of 
Government to effectually prevent by a long imprison- 
ment his further participation in Irish politics but 
he entered into no engagements which would prevent 
him taking any course he might choose to adopt 
in the new world, and he felt perfectly tree to re-enter 
on his scheme of securing foreign aid for Ireland 
the moment he landed in America. Not only was 
this the case, but before leaving Ireland he sought 
and received the approbation of the United Irish 
Leaders, as well as the principal members of the 
Catholic Committee for a renewal of the attempt 
to open negotiations with the revolutionary government 
in France. It was agreed that having once arrived 
in America he should wait on the French Ambassador 
in that country and endeavour to obtain from him a 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 31 

recommendation to his Government in Paris. If 
this could be accomplished, Tone was determined 
to proceed to France and personally endeavour to 
enlist the active assistance of the French Republic 
in an attempt to establish an independent Republic 
in Ireland. 

Before leaving Ireland he visited Belfast and from 
that port he sailed. In his autobiography, he recounts 
the great send-off that his friends in that city accorded 
him. In Belfast, too, he conferred with the leading 
United Irishmen and they joined with those of 
Dublin in urging him so soon as it might be possible 
to proceed to France and lay the case of Ireland 
before the French Government. 

I will close this chapter with a letter 'the original 
of which is among Dr. Madden' s papers in the I/ibrary 
of Trinity College. It was written on the last day 
that Tone spent in Ireland prior to setting out on his 
mission, and was addressed to John Russell. 

June 1 3th, 1795. 

Dear Jack, 

I write this from Belfast on my way to America. 
I have been fighting my way here a long time, and 
at last finding all further contest on my part 
unprofitable, and indeed, impossible, I yield to what 
I cannot any longer oppose. Under this emigration 
I find complete support in the testimony of my own 



32 THE LETTERS OF 

conscience, the spirit of my family and the kindness 
and affection of my friends, especially those of this 
town, who, you who have known them, will well 
believe, have acted in a manner the most spirited 
and honourable indeed, I am overpowered with 
their kindness. 

I cannot leave Ireland without bidding you 
farewell. Be assured, dear John, I have the sincerest 
regard for you. As the women write, I shall make 
my part the shorter remember me most affec- 
tionately to Hu Bell, whose kindness to me I 
feel sensibly give my love to James Nicholson 
and to Harman Jones,* they are right good lads, 
and I hope they will not forget me. Write to me 
under cover to Tom we go on board this evening. 
Adieu dear, John, God bless you. T. W. TONE. 
My Dear, Dear John, 

I have not time to say more than God Almighty 
bless you this is my last (day) in Ireland, farewell 
for ever. While I have life I shall remember you 
with affection. Adieu, remember your sincere 
friend. MATILDA TONE. 
My Dear John, 

I am this moment going on board, but I could 
not think of a letter going to you without sending 
3 r ou a last adieu. Be assured I shall remember 
* A cousin of the Rnssells. 



1HEOBALD WOLFE 1ONE. 33 

you for ever, and I expect you will not forget me. 
God bless you, and may everyone feel as warmly 
towards you as I do. 

Your Sincerely affectionate, 

MARY TONE.* 



Mary Tone accompanied her brother .to America. 



34 THE LETTERS OF 



II. IN AMERICA. 

Tone, accompanied by his wife, his children, and 
his sister, sailed from Belfast on the I3th June, 1795, 
and landed at Wilmington on the ist August. A 
few days later, they reached Philadelphia where 
they found Dr. Reynolds and Hamilton Rowan 
who had also left Ireland owing to their connection 
with Jackson, already established. Iheir last meeting 
had been in Newgate Prison, in Dublin. Immediately 
on arriving at Philadelphia, Tone wrote to his friend, 
Thomas Russell, describing their voyage and his 
first impressions of America.* 

Philadelphia, August 7th, 1795. 
My Dear Tom, 

As the post for Europe closes this evening, 
I have only time to inform you that we are all 
arrived safe and well, after a passage of seven 
weeks, in which the only adventure which occurred 
worth relating, was that we were boarded about 
the middle of the sixth week by three British 
frigates who pressed, with circumstances of great 
*From the Riissel! Papers, T.C D. 



THEOBALD WOLFE a ONE. 35 

insolence, and barbarity, fifty of our people, therein 
including all the hands save one, so that if we, 
fortunately, had not had moderate weather, it would 
have been next to a miracle if we had ever got in. 
You will judge how this circumstance went down 
with me, especially when I tell you that I was 
very near having the honour myself to serve the 
King, when I least dreamt of it, and I dare say 
if the scoundrels had known my name, I should 
certainly have been detained. So much for this 
just and necessary war. My stay here has been 
so short (two days), that you can judge that I can 
have no news of any kind for you ; I have not 
even called on Smith to present my bills for accept- 
ance, but shall to-morrow. 

The country is beautiful, but it is like a beautiful 
scene in a theatre, the effect at a proper distance 
is admirable, but it will not bear a minute inspec- 
tion, the features are large, the weeds rank, the 
grasses coarse, but distance blinds all that and 
renders the whole a singular certainly, and, in my 
mind, a beautiful landscape. I am obliged to 
speak of the face of the country for as yet I know 
so little of the people that it would not be candid 
to speak what I am inclined to think of them. 
However, to my friends, I whisper that I believe 
them not to be amiable, they seem selfish and 



THE LETTERS OF 



interested, and they do fleece us Emigres at a most 
unmerciful rate. All this, however, is a secret 
between us. What I am competent to say with 
certainty is, that the public mind is in a prodigious 
ferment here, regarding the treaty with England 
which is universally condemned, with the exception 
of the Chamber of Commerce of New York, which 
you who know that state and the spirit of commerce 
will not wonder at. Two-thirds of the Senate 
are necessary to sanction a treaty and the number 
on the division were twenty to ten, exactly the 
number required what the President will do is 
not known, but I suppose he will sanction the 
treaty, in which case he will outlive his hard and 
well-earned popularity, a circumstance which I, 
for one, will most heartily regret ; at the same 
time, God forbid any sense of past services should 
overbear truth and justice. He will live too long for 
the mischiefs attendant on which I refer you to 
Juvenal's loth satire or rather to Johnson's 
translation thereof I have now done with American 
Politics. 

The time is so very short, that I cannot write 
to my friends in Belfast. We, therefore, beg you 
will go to Simms, William and Robert, to Neilson, 
to McDonnell,* to Sinclair, and to everyone to whom 
we are obliged, which is, indeed, everyone we know 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 37 

in Belfast, and assure them that we do entertain, and 
ever shall, the warmest sense of their kindness 
and the sincerest affection for them personally. 
If the shortness of the time would .at all admit it, 
we would write to everybody, but the cruel Post 
Office closes this evening : in a week or ten days 
we shall know more of our own prospects and 
situation and then we will write in detail, till then, 
my dear Tom, God Almighty bless you. The 
girls add a P.S. 

Yours most truly, 
Show this letter to everyone. T. \V. TONE. 

My Dearest Tom, 

I cannot let this letter go without telling you 
that I am well and happy, by which you may 
guess that all those on whom my life and soul 
depend are so also. I shall not attempt to mention 
what I felt at parting you, for no language can express 
it -write to your sister for me, and remember me to 
all my dear friends at Belfast ; tell them that I 
consider my seeing them as the happiest circumstance 
of my life. I will write to them the first opportunity. 
Adieu, my dearest Tom, give my love to John 
when you write, and believe me to be, ever your 
affectionate friend, 

MATILDA TONE. 



38 THE LETTERS OF 

Once in America, Tone lost no time in calling on 
the French Ambassador, Citizen Adet. He was well 
received, and, at Adet' s request, he wrote a memorial 
on the state of Ireland for the French Government. 
He offered also to proceed to France, but this Adet 
did not encourage promising however, to transmit 
the memorial and to back it with his strongest recom- 
mendation, which he did. With this, Tone had perforce 
to be satisfied. He was very greatly disappointed, 
but Adet was firmly set against his going to France 
and without the Ambassador's recommendation it 
seemed useless and unwise to proceed. There was 
nothing to do but to wait for the unlikely chance of 
his memorial, which had been forwarded, inducing 
the French Government to turn its attention seriously 
to Ireland. 

In this situation, Tone felt that having done all 
that he could he must face the prospect of becoming 
for the rest of his life, a settler in America. 

I had now, he wrote, discharged my conscience 
as to my duty to my country ; and it was with 
the sincerest and deepest contristation of mind 
that I saw this, my last effort, likely to be of so 
little effect. It was barely possible, but I did not 
much expect that the French Government might 
take notice of my memorial, and if they did not 
there was an end of all my hopes. I now began 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



to endeavour to bend my mind to my situation, 
but to no purpose. I moved my family first to 
\Yestchester, and then to Downingstown, both 
in the State of Pennsylvania, about thirty miles 
from Philadelphia, and I began to look about for 
a small plantation, such as might suit the shattered 
state of my finances, on which the enormous expense 
of living in Philadelphia, three times as dear as at 
Paris, or even London, was beginning to make 
a sensible inroad. 

Having come to this decision, Tone searched the 
country for a small plantation, and began to reconcile 
himself to the idea of spending the remainder of his 
life in America. He found a farm of 180 acres near 
Princeton, and this he settled to buy, and in consequence 
he moved his family to Princeton and took a small 
house for the winter. 

From Princeton he wrote to Russell a long and 
interesting letter which has fortunately been preserved. * 
Princeton, New Jersey, 

October 25th, 1795. 
Dear Tom, 

I begin to accomodate myself to my situation, 
to forget that we are three thousand miles asunder, 
and sit down to write to 3 r ou as if I were still at 
Chateau Bono. Short reckonings make long friends, 

* The Russell Papers. 



THE LETTERS OF 



and as I desire we may be so, I bring my epistolatory 
account up to this date by telling you that I have 
written you on the loth August, the 2Oth vSeptember, 
and the 8th inst., and that I purpose writing about 
once a month, trusting to the mercy of the seas 
and the more inexorable post office for my letters 
reaching you. I have had one letter from you, 
which I answered the day I got it ; I also wrote 
my friend Simms at the same time. Your letters 
were very nearly three months in coming, being 
dated the nth of July. I desire that you may 
write once a month by the post and as many bye 
letters as you can find safe hands to carry, and I 
shall do the like in return. 

I am here at an Inn, and have been so, alone, 
these three days setting sign and seal to the deeds 
relating to my farm. It is a beautiful spot, and, 
I believe, very healthy. The buildings are mean, 
and I purpose, therefore, erecting for myself a 
mansion in the course of the ensuing year, and, 
in the meantime, shall do tolerably. The soil is 
light and sandy and never has been properly culti- 
vated, but I hope to show the Jersey men a pattern. 
They are miserable farmers, by all that I can see. 
I have ninety (English) acres cleared, and I intend 
to bring fifty of them into English cultivation 
which is as much as 3 shall be able to manage 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 41 

properly, and far more profitable than thrice the 
extent scattered as it is here. I remember once 
hearing a Down squire, Pottinger, say a smart 
.* was the best improver, and truly I 
begin to think so. But I meditate . . . .* 
things when I am once fixed to wit, by next 
spring, I shall try by writing in the papers to form 
a farmers' club in this county with a small annual 
subscription to be laid out in purchasing an agricul- 
tural library, importing seeds, etc., from Europe 
for experiments, introducing articles from other 
states of the union and trying them here, perhaps 
giving small honorary premiums. I likewise, if I 
succeed so far, will try at least to introduce Fairs 
and Markets on the Irish system, of which there 
is no trace here, to my great surprise, for in a 
country thinly peopled as this is comparatively 
with Europe, such institutions as these periodical 
meetings when men can supply their mutual wants 
seem to me more particularly necessary. I have 
mentioned this to two or three people, and they all 
agree it would be a good thing, but nobody will 
stir in it. If, however, I get my club established 
next summer and that we go on for one year I hope 
to accomplish my scheme of the fairs and markets 
by which I shall have discharged my debt of gratitude 
* Manuscript ille.gible 



42 THE LETTERS OF 

. to the United States for the asylum they have 
afforded me. 

I daresay you are amused at the idea of my 
being the father of a farming club after assisting 
in framing societies of so very different a nature, 
but I see no better way of being useful here. Inde- 
pendent of the practical excellence of the American 
Government which leaves little ground for discontent, 
I have determined not to interfere in any degree, 
directly or indirectly, with their politics. I carry 
this so far that I shall never assume the rights of 
citizenship here, let my stay in the country be long 
or short, were it even to last for my life quod Dens 
avertat. I am an inflexible Irishman and I will 
never by any act of mine divest myself of that name. 
Secluded, however, as I am from my own dear 
country, and, of course, unable to serve her as I 
wish, I will amuse myself and lighten, if I can, the 
woes of separation by doing, or, at least, attempting 
the little good that may be in my power. 

I often think of an argument which you and I 
have held in which I now feel experimentally that 
I was right and you were wrong, which indeed, 
candour obliges me to allow has always been the 
case when we differed. You held that all countries 
were alike to a well-regulated mind. I do not wish 
you so ill as to desire you to be convinced of the 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 43 

contrary by such an experiment as I am now 
making, but if it ever should be your lot, I believe 
you will feel the irresistible affection by which 
a man is drawn to his native soil and how flat and 
uninteresting the politics and parties of other 
countries appear. I would always except France, 
but even there the principle I speak of prevails, 
for she is contending for the liberty of every man's 
country. 

Out of Ireland I never shall be happy, but I have 
no doubt but I shall be perfectly easy ; yet well as I 
love her, I hope you do not think I would return to 
her in her present state -I would exist in no country 
permissu superii. If Ireland is ever free though I 
am fourscore, I will return but not otherwise. 

I see by the papers that the Defenders are becoming 
more formidable. I have the greatest compassion 
for them for I know the extremity of their misery 
and I do most sincerely deplore the rashness which 
drives them to sacrifice their unfortunate lives 
on the bayonets of the military. If they have 
leaders, as the papers say, surely every effort should 
be made by them to prevent such mad and unprofi- 
table destruction. I see likewise that even in my 
own county Kildare which was so remarkable for 
peace and good order, the spirit of insurrection has 
intruded, some persons have been arraigned for 



THE LETTERS OF 



high treason in swearing to join the French, and 
William Johnson was assigned as one of their 
counsel. Pray, let me know in your answer the 
result of this trial for I look on the culprits as fellow- 
sufferers. If the Government will hang every 
Irishman holding the same sentiment I think 
His Majesty's Attorney-General will have full 
employment. I see likewise a serious insurrection 
in Dublin amongst the soldiery, but I do not think 
it formidable, or at least very formidable, for it 
seems to involve no political principle but to turn 
on points purely military. At the same time, 
a bad government must tremble at everything. 
If once the army fluctuates they are gone. 

Now that I mention Irish affairs let me have the 
papers as often as you have an opportunity; I did 
not get the North Star you sent last for they were 
interrupted by Rabb and Reynolds which vexed 
me. However, I got sight of the one by chance 
in which mention was made of my departure, for 
which I feel most sincerely obliged. It was a 
bold exertion of friendship towards one in my 
situation. I should be curious to know whether 
the Dublin Journal took any notice of the paragraph. 
Let me likewise have magazines and any fugitive 
pieces worth sending but all this I believe I 
mentioned in my last. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 45 

To return to my own affairs -I shall be for 
some time in pecuniary difficulties but I have 
latterly been so much involved in more serious 
ones that I disregard them -I shall extricate 
myself, partly like an Irish gentleman, by selling 
my goods, and partly I must trust to that good 
Providence that has so miraculously on more than 
one occasion, as you know, interfered to preserve 
me. One thing is in my favour, I never was in 
better health or spirits. My regret for the loss of 
my country is so mixed with opposite passions, 
with indignation, and with hope, as little to affect 
me. I do not know but circumstanced as I am 
rather serves me by keeping my mind from stagnating. 
I have, therefore, resolved to keep a steady eye on 
Europe, but in the meantime to embark in a farming 
system as if I were to continue here for ever. My 
great want is a friend, and the extent of that want 
I leave to } T our feelings. Of my wife, I need not 
speak to you who know her so well and love her so 
much ; yet, much as I delight in her, I feel a most 
painful chasm in the loss of your society and 
almost wish at times that something were to happen 
that would drive you after me. If that were to be 
the case emigration would to me lose almost all its 
pains, and you would have infinite advantages 
in my being before you, which I sincerely 
feel the want of. 



46 THE LETTERS OF 

When I consider the peculiar circumstances in 
which Ireland is placed at this moment, I am 
almost- satisfied that one party or the other will 
speedily be forced to emigrate, arid it is a great 
instance of the goodness of Providence that there 
is such a country as this open to receive them. 
I refer you to my last for my thoughts on emigration 
as applied to your case, and I beg you will consider 
them very seriously. 

In my first letter, I wrote in terms of strong 
dislike which I very sincerely feel to many points 
in the American character. I believe, however, 
I guarded it by observing I was b\\t just arrived, 
and that I spoke of the people of Philadelphia. 
They are the most disgusting race, eaten up with 
all the vice of commerce and that vilest of all pride, 
the pride of the purse. In the country parts of 
Pennyslvania the farmers are extremely ignorant 
and boorish, particularly the Germans and their 
descendants, who abound. There is something 
too in the Quaker manners extremely unfavourable 
to anything like polished society, but of all the 
people I have met here the Irish are incontestably 
the most offensive. If you meet a confirmed 
blackguard you may be sure he is Irish. You 
will, of course, observe I speak of the lower orders. 
They are as boorish and ignorant as the Germans, 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 47 

as uncivil and uncouth as the Quakers, and as they 
have ten times more animal spirits than both they 
are much more actively troublesome. After all, 
I do. not wonder at, nor am I angry with them. 
They are corrupted by their own execrable Govern- 
ment at home and when they land here and find 
themselves treated like human creatures, fed and 
clothed, and paid for their labour, no longer flying 
from the sight of any fellow who is able to purchase 
a velvet collar to his coat, I do not wonder if the 
heads of the unfortunate devils are turned with 
such an unexpected change in their fortunes, and if 
their newgotten liberty breaks out, as it too often 
does, into pettiness and insolence. For all this 
it is, perhaps, scarcely fair to blame them -the 
fact is certain. 

In Jersey, the manners of the people are extremely 
different ; they seem lively and disengaged in 
comparison, and that, among others, was one reason 
which determined me to settle in this State. 

But if the manners of the Penns) 7 lvanians be 
unpleasant, their Government is the best under 
heaven, and their country thrives accordingly. 
You can have no idea from anything you have 
ever seen or read,- or fancied of the affluence and 
ease in which they universally live, and as to the 
want of civility, they do not feel it. What do you 



48 THE LETTERS OF 

think of their Government having paid off the 
whole of the debt incurred in the acquisition of 
their Independence and having at this moment, a 
million and a half dollars in advance in the National 
Bank, from which they draw six per cent. ? Governor 
Mifflen (the General), told me that in a very short 
time the State would be able to pay all their expenses 
by the interest of the money which they were daily 
lodging in the bank without drawing a dollar from 
the people. What do you say to a State not 
mortgaging its revenues to an irretrievable extent, 
but growing rich and living like a wealthy individual 
on their money in the funds ? Then go and look 
at Ireland borrowing two millions in one year 
and for what ? I have not temper to go on. These 
are the things that make men Republicans. These 
are the things for which the lives of thousands and 
of tens of thousands are on a cheap purchase, 
and this will be yet, with God's help, the system 
of Ireland and of Europe. 

Governor Mifflen has promised me a statement 
of the affairs of Pennsylvania, which, if I obtain 
it, I will transmit to you. If they be as he asserts, 
and I doubt not they are, it will be a curious docu- 
ment, and one sufficient, I should suppose to 
imprint on the mind of every good subject an 
adequate horror of the miseries of Republican 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



Governments, and a rational attachment to the 
blessings of monarchy. How sincerely an English- 
man must despise such pimping economy in the 
expenditure of the public money. 

*"" Take notice, Pennsylvania in her constitu- 
tion approaches the nearest to the doctrine of 
universal suffrage and perfect equality. 

I have done, for the present, with politics. To 
come to business, have you, a^ I desired in my last, 
by just or unjust means got together any money 
for me? If }'ou have, I beg you will buy in Belfast, 
if you can, but if not, in Dublin 20 Ibs. of Lucerne 
seed, 30 Ibs. of sainfoin, 5 Ibs. of common furze 
seed, and two or three quarts of the Haw stones 
which grow on the white or Hawthorn. Take care 
that the seeds be fresh and do you get them packed 
up carefully in the sheet lead which comes round 
the tea. Robert Getty I daresay will supply you, 
and have the whole enclosed in a small deal box, 
pitched in all the seams and watertight ; that 
McCracken will do for you. If you have money 
to allow it, I also wish you would send me in the 
same package, the transactions of the Bath Society 
and the Linnaen which McDonnell gave me, and 
I forgot to bring away from his house. I also 
wish exceedingly for Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, 
two volumes, quarto, but for this, I tear you have 



50 ' THE LETTERS OF 

not cash, nor, perhaps have you any. I do not 
know whether they keep the furze seed for sale, 
but if not, it will be a pretty innocent amusement 
for you to go in person and gather it off the bushes 
for me, and if I can do anything here in return, 
command me. Let me see how you will execute 
all this like a man of business and direct the box 

to Mr (the original letter is torn, 

and the address is missing). 

This is a plaguey long letter and tolerably mis- 
cellaneous, but what can a man do at an Inn 
without books or company ? When I get into my 
farm you shall have letters of a less gigantic stature 
I will now conclude. My wife, sister, and children 
are all well. Matty will write to you the moment 
we are settled. I enclose for your perusal, and 
yours only, a piece of secret history ; burn it 
when you have read it. Remember me most 
affectionately to all my friends in Belfast. Take 
special care of yourself, dear Tom, and believe me 
to be ever most truly yours, 

WILLIAM PENN. 

Tone's project of becoming an American farmer 
was not to be fulfilled. While he was waiting 
for the lawyer to draw the deeds and complete the 
purchase of the farm he had selected, letters came 
from John Keogh, Russell, and William and Robert 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONK. 51 

Simras, all telling him that the State of the public 
mind in Ireland was advancing to Republicanism 
with great rapidity, and urging him at all cost to go 
to France and ask aid for an Irish revolution. Nothing 
loth, he determined to set out for Philadelphia at once 
and again ask Adet to recommend him to the French 
Government. His wife, whose courage never failed 
in any crisis of their fortunes, urged him not to let any 
consideration of herself or their children stand in the 
way. A more noble, unselfish, or heroic woman is 
not to be found in history. 

Tone hastened to Philadelphia where he was 
surprised to find that Adet was as willing to facilitate 
him now as he had previously been reluctant. 
He gave him a letter of recommendation to his 
Government, and offered him pecuniary assistance 
for his journey. Tone gladly accepted the letter and 
declined the money and with as little delay as possible 
prepared to sail to France. He sailed from New York 
on New Year's Day, 1796, and landed at Havre de 
Grace a month later. 

Mrs. Tone remained in America until the October 
.following, when she sailed to France to join her 
husband. A letter which she wrote to Russell before 
setting out cannot be omitted here. It is apparent 
from the context that the practice of opening letters 
in transit was as. common in those days as in our 



52 1HE LE11ERS OF 

own and it was written to pass the eye of any officer 
of the English Government into whose hands it might 
fall. It was not signed. 

October gth, 1796. 
My Dear Tom, 

We set off to-morrow for the back countries, 
and I cannot begin my journey without bidding 
you farewell. We are all in the highest health and 
spirits, and every precaution is taken to make 
our journey easy and pleasant. I fired at you 
some time since by Cork, and my heart has smote 
me for it ever since. " My dear " says I, " this 
is a poor wretch" " but yet I have a little against 
thee." Why did you write as if I was a Fit ? You 
will judge better than I can express the delight 
I feel at the prospect of joining my husband, it 
has no alloy but the sad news we got yesterday 
of the total defeat of the Austrians in Italy and the 
deplorable state to which the poor Emperor and 
the German Princes are reduced ; there is nothing 
so horribly afflicts us as the misfortunes of princes. 
" A begging prince what beggar pities not," as the 
sublime bard hath it. Oh, for Fortunatus Hat that I 
might look on you all before I set off. I could see 
Sam Neilson and his sweet little wife and children. 
Do you know I dreamed the other night I was 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 53 

gone home and in North Street on my way to 
R. Simms when I awoke myself crying in an 
extasy "I'm in Ireland, I'm in Ireland, I'm in 
Belfast," and I cried in good earnest to find I was 
not. Oh, this dreadful Buonaparte, there is no 
knowing what he may not do. 

I hinted to you in my last that your friend 
"yes, yes, and no, no" gave us much pain. I 
want the Doctor to write to you about him, but he 
does not like to do it, he says he hopes there is no 
danger of him ; to be sure the Doctor knows best, 
but I'm not satisfied. 

Never can I find words to express my gratitude 
to Dr. Reynolds for his kindness and animated 
attention to us since we came here ; he is one of my 
first favourites. I never knew a man possessed of 
better principles or finer feelings 

Remember me with sincere affection to all my 
dear friends, particularly Jane, but don't forget 
my* . . . . Never fear, a day will certainly 
come when everyone may do right and be happy, 
at present, they are incompatible. I will write a 
few lines to Robert Simms. I hope you will get 
this safe, but we don't know what to hope (or) 
fear from these desperate French. 

Ever yours. 
* Letter illegible. 



54 THE LETTERS OF 

I hear from Arthur that in}' dear little sister is 
married. I enclose you a note for her, it contains 
just nothing. Arthur or his mother will send it 
for you it is an amulet. I hope her husband is 
a sensible man, but I'm afraid he is too handsome. 
Am yours. 

What I mentioned to you of your friend is between 
ourselves unless you hear from Reynolds. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 55 



III. IX FRANCE. 

Tone landed in France on the ist February, 1796. 
He lost no time in presenting himself to Monroe, 
the American Ambassador, and to Charles de la 
Croix, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs. 
He was extremely well received and was told that a 
letter was actually on its way to America requesting 
that he might come over immediately to confer with 
the French Government on the subject of a French 
expedition to Ireland. The French Government 
was ready to send men and guns to Ireland but 
had little appreciation of the forces necessary for 
success. Tone insisted that a small force was worse 
than useless. He boldly asked for 20,000 men, and 
when 2,000 were suggested he stated emphatically 
that 5,000 was the least that could effect anything 
but that if ably led and well equipped they might 
have a bare chance of pulling through. 

He further insisted that with 5,000 men the landing 
must be near Belfast but with 20,000 or even 15,000 
they might land near the capital and be in full possession 
of the Government of the Island within a few days. 

M onroe, the American Minister, showed the greatest 



56 THE LETTERS OF 

~ 

interest in Tone's mission, and advised him to go in 
person to Carnot the ablest member of the French 
Executive, and even authorised him to refer Carnot 
to him for the authenticity of all that he had to sa} 7 
to the Minister. His first interview with Carnot 
took place on 24th February and many others followed. 
Then ensued a period when hope and disappointment 
alternated daily. Promises made one hour would 
be retracted or prove illusory the next, until Tone 
was driven to record in his diary, " I have resolved 
never to believe that the Expedition will be undertaken 
till I see the troops on board, nor that it will succeed 
until I have slept one night under canvas in Ireland." 
De la Croix, the Foreign Minister handed him over 
to Madgett, while Carnot asked him to communicate 
with the Government through General Clarke, both 
of these being Irishmen in the French service. They 
both appeared to be acting quite independently, and 
both made many promises which often proved illusory. 
The French Directory, however, while taking much 
of Tone's advice, gave him little definite information 
as to their intentions until their preparations were 
well advanced, and though Tone, thus kept in the 
dark, complains much of their delays in his Journals, 
he found after a few months that his attempt to 
induce them to send an expedition to Ireland was 
to be completely successful. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 57 

The French Government assembled a considerable 
army at Rennes, in Brittany, and appointed General 
Lazare Hoche to the Chief Command. Hoche was 
a soldier whose name was known throughout Europe, 
and he undertook the command of the expedition 
to free Ireland with the utmost enthusiasm. He 
did everything possible to hasten- and to complete 
the preparations for his departure and took a deeper 
and more genuine interest in the cause of Ireland 
than any other of the French leaders. Tone was 
appointed Adjutant General in the French Army 
and attached to Hoche' s staff. 

To the French Expedition the English Fleet inter- 
posed an almost insuperable obstacle. The long neglect 
of their marine by the French Government, coupled 
with the wiser naval policy of England, had resulted 
in the complete domination of the ocean by the fleets 
of the latter. They were supreme in every sea and 
such an expedition as the French Government pro- 
jected in 1796 could never hope to succeed by fighting 
the enemy, but only by avoiding a contest, by slipping 
past the English guard and landing in Ireland at 
some moment when the opposing fleet was not ready 
to intercept it. 

Very fortunately for the French the English Fleet 
in 1796 was commanded by an Admiral who preferred 
the pleasanter part of wintering in port to keeping 



58 THE LETTERS OF 

up the blockade of Brest in full strength. Lord 
Bridport with the greater part of the Channel fleet 
was at Spithead when the French were ready to 
sail from Brest, and when the French preparations 
were finally completed they had the great good 
fortune to find that the way was open. 

Amid the anxieties and activities of his preparations 
at Brest, Tone wrote a long letter to his wife in which 
he gives many directions as to her conduct in case 
anything should happen to him in the course of his 
hazardous enterprise. This letter was published by 
Tone's son in the first edition of the Autobiography, 

Head Quarters. 

At Brest, November soth, 1796. 
My Dearest Love, 

I wrote to you on the 26th of May last, desiring 
you to remove, with all our family to France, 
by the first opportunity, but the ship which carried 
my letter was taken by the English, so I suppose 
you never received it ; I wrote to you a second 
time repeating my orders and giving you very 
full directions for your conducting yourself in 
case of my not being in- France at the time of your 
arrival ; this letter I gave to the American Consul 
at Paris, who promised to forward it by a safe hand, 
on the 28th July last, so I am in hopes it reached 



THEOBALD \\OLFE TONE. 59 

you, and by calculating the dates, and allowing 
for your lying in and recovery, I presume you are 
by this on your passage to Havre, and I cannot 
express the unspeakable anxiety I feel for your 
safety, and that of our^ dear little babies, exposed 
to all the inconveniences and perils of a winter 
passage. I trust in God you will get safe and well, 
and that by the time you will receive this we shall 
have finished our business, in which case you and I 
will devote the remainder of our lives to each other, 
for I am truly weary of the perpetual separation 
that we have lived in, I may almost say, from the 
date of our marriage. 

The Government here has at length seriously 
taken up the affair of Ireland, and, in consequence, 
shortly after my last letter to you, I received orders 
to join General Hoche, who commands the expedition 
in chief, at Rennes, where he was quartered. After 
remaining at Rennes for near two months, we set off 
for Brest, in order to proceed to our destination, 
but great bodies move slow ; it is only to-day 
that our preparations are completed, and the day 
after to-morrow I expect to embark on board the 
Indomptable, of 80 guns. Our force will be fifteen 
ships of the line, and ten frigates, and I suppose, 
for I do not exactly know, of at least 10,000 of the 
best troops in France. If we arrive safe with that 



60 THE LETTERS OF 

force I have not the least doubt of success, especially 
as Ireland is now wound up to the highest pitch 
of discontent. I have the rank of Adjutant-General, 
and I am immediately in General Hoche's family. 
I offered to serve with .the Grenadiers, who will 
form the advance guard of the army, as being the 
post of danger and of honor, but the General refused 
me very handsomely, saying, that it was necessary 
for his arrangements that I should be immediately 
about his person. You see by this that as a military 
man I am infinitely better off than I had any 
reason to expect. There is the very best spirit in 
the troops, both officers and soldiers, and, in short, 
nothing can prevent our success unless it is that 
we should be totally defeated by the British fleet 
in our passage. I have no doubt but they are 
cruising to intercept us, and if we fall in with them 
the engagement will be, perhaps, the most desperate 
one that has ever been fought at sea between 
the two powers, for our orders are to submit (I 
mean the army on board), to the captains' orders 
in everything, except to strike to the enemy ; of 
course, we must fight to the last extremity, and I 
have no doubt but we will do so ; and if we should 
even be defeated, they will not take us all, and 
in that case those who escape will, I hope, push 
on for Ireland ; in short, now we are at sea, I 



THEOBALD WOLFE 1OXE. 61 

think we will not turn back without finishing our 
business. 

I would not write thus to terrify you, needlessly, 
but long before you receive my letter the affair 
will be over one way or the other ; I hope, happily 
for us, in which case I once more promise you 
never to quit you again for any temptation of fame, 
honor, or interest. After all we have suffered, a 
little tranquility is now surely due to us. 

The circumstances under which I write compel 
me to address you in the most serious style. On 
the eve of such an expedition as I am about to 
embark in, and with the prospect of such an action 
before me as that in which it is likely we may be 
engaged, I cannot conceal from you nor myself 
that I have to expect the greatest danger and it 
is possible in short that I may fall in the contest : 
should that event happen, I hope you will have the 
courage to support the loss as may become you, 
as well for your own sake as that of our dear children. 
I know by what I feel at this moment how severe 
will be the trial, which in that case you will undergo, 
but the evil will be then inevitable, and the duty 
you owe to our darling babies must incite you to a 
great exertion of firmness, which I know you 
possess ; and, in short, whatever the effort may 
cost you you must not sink under it. I need not 



62 THE LETTERS OF 

add any cold arguments on the folly of grieving 
for what is not to be retrieved ; I entreat you as 
you love me, for your own sake and for that of our. 
little ones that you may collect all your courage, 
and should the very worst happen, remember, 
you will then be their only parent. I need not, 
indeed, I cannot say more. 

In case of anything happening to me, and that 
the expedition should succeed, you will, of course, 
remove by the first opportunity to Ireland. I do 
not think so ill of my country or my friends as to 
doubt that, in that case, provision will be made for 
you and my children. In case of my death, and the 
failure of the expedition, I confess I am at a loss 
to advise you. However, not to be wanting to 
yourself, you will address yourself by petition 
to the French Executive Directory, and particularly 
to Carnot, with whom I am acquainted, and with 
whom I have done all my business since my arrival 
in France, stating the circumstances and praying 
relief ; you will also address yourself to General 
Clarke, to whom you may write under cover to 
Carnot, to Colonel Shee, who is my particular 
friend, and embarked with me on this expedition, 
and lastly, to General Hoche, who knows my 
services and will, I am sure, in that case be of use 
to you. God knows whether all this may produce 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 63 

anything, for the Government here is, I know, 
in the last distress for money ; however, you will 
at least try. If that fails, as Matt* will, I trust 
in God be with you, I leave it to your common 
judgment and prudence to determine what may 
be most advisable, whether to remain in France 
or to return to America, in which latter case, as 
the little you now have will be almost totally gone, 
you must go to Carolina or Georgia, where alone 
it will be possible for you to exist, and in that case 
I commit you to the goodness of that Supreme Power 
Who has so often, almost miraculously, preserved us, 
entreating only of Matt, as he cherishes the memory 
of a brother who very sincerely and affectionally 
loved him, that he may not quit you for a moment 
while he can be useful to you, but to act as a faithful 
friend to you and a father to my darling babies. 

I have now finished the most painful hour of my 
life ; I have advised and prepared you for the 
very worst event and be assured that the prospect 
of our separation cannot be more terrible to you 
than it is to me, but I hope we have, notwithstanding, 
both of us, courage sufficient to contemplate it 
with steadiness. Let us now turn the picture, 
and see what the bright side of it offers to our view. 

If we do not meet the English Fleet, or meeting 
* Matthew, Tone's brother. 



64 THE LETTERS OF 

them, if we force our way, and, in short, if I reach 
Ireland in safety (that is to say, with rny ten 
thousand French lovers at my back), there is not 
a shadow of doubt of our success, and when the 
country is once emancipated there will be, I think, 
no situation that I will in reason demand which 
will be refused me, and in that case you will see 
whether or not the principal desire of my life be 
not to make you happy ; indeed, my dearest love, 
you are the mainspring of every action of my life 
and every thought of my heart. Remember, 
I am now in the high road to fortune, and, I hope, to 
fame, for if we succeed, I think I may say, I have 
earned some reputation, but I can also say that 
neither fame nor fortune are an object with me 
further than as they will enable me to manifest 
my sense of your goodness and virtues. As I 
shall arrive there with the rank of Adjutant-General 
and with the favour of the Commander-in-Chief, 
and I hope the good will of my countrymen, and 
as an Irish Army will be, of course, directly formed, 
I shall, I presume, not be offered a lower rank 
than I now hold, and if I behave, as I hope I shall, 
in a manner becoming a good officer, I have at least 
as good a chance of promotion as another, so, 
at last I shall be, as Miss Mary, to whom I beg my 
compliments, used to say, in my etat militaire 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 6s 



In that case I shall have at least a regiment, I shall 
be able to settle Matt to our satisfaction, and I 
think as the citizen Arthur has made a voyage 
also in the cause, I will have a right to demand a 
place for him also ; so Miss Mary will have a chance 
to see three of her brothers in very gaudy green coats 
with long sabres by their sides, and then I hope 
she will be easy. I wear at present, a fine embroidered 
scarlet cape and cuffs on my uniform and a laced 
hat, which is only permitted to the General officers, 
but I shall be happy on the first occasion (would 
to God it were to-morrow), to change my blue coat 
for one as green as a leek, which I think will be 
more becoming. If I arrive in safety the other side, 
the first thing I shall do will be to appoint Matt 
my aide-de-camp, in his absence, and that will 
set him going advantageously ; in short, I have 
a thousand fine things in my head for you all if 
Messieurs, the English, allow me to pass clear, 
for as the poet hath it : 

If we meet with a privateer, or a 
lofty man of war, 

We will not stay to wrangle, to 

chatter nor to iar. 

It is not our business to fight those gentlemen at 
sea, if we can possibly avoid it, and you may be sure 
we will do everything in our power, and I hope 
yet we may get clear, in which case, as I have 



66 THE LETTERS OF 

already said ten times, you shall see what you shall 
see. 

I have now finished the best and the worst that 
can happen us, but there remains a third way, 
which is that it may happen that we should be 
beaten back in spite of all our efforts and that I 
should so return in safety to France. In that 
case I think I shall be able to retain my pay as 
Adjutant-General, which as things go here will 
be a vast addition to our little fortune ; I will 
then buy or hire a small farm within a few miles 
of Paris and devote the remainder of my life to 
making you happy and educating our children. 

This last way, though not so bad as my first 
supposition, is yet just now to me a very gloomy 
prospect, for the reasons I am about to mention. 

Since my arrival in France I have had no com- 
munication whatsoever with Ireland, but I have 
seen the English papers pretty regularly, by favour 
of Madgett, who is in the Bureau of the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs ; I had in consequence the 
mortification to read in May last, that John Keogh 
was arrested by order of Government with Sir 
Edward Bellew (a great aristocrat), and several 
others ; however, I watched the papers carefully 
for some months after, and as I saw no further 
mention of the business I am in very great hopes 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



that they were immediately released, and that 

the affair blew over, but I have no certainty. Since 

that time (indeed, within these few days), while 

we were on our march to Brest, I found an English 

paper wherein there was an article copied from the 

Northern Star of September i6th, by which I saw 

to my most unspeakable distress and anxiety that 

Harry Haslett and two persons of the name of 

Osborne and Shanaghan had been arrested that 

day, at Belfast, on a charge of high Treason, and 

that Sam Neilson and Russell had surrendered 

themselves voluntarily. You will judge how I 

felt this blow ! The instant I arrived I ran to 

Hoche to communicate the news, and we agreed 

immediately to despatch a proper person to Ireland 

on board an American vessel, partly to obtain 

intelligence, but principally to give notice to my ' 

friends through a channel which I pointed out, to 

avail themselves of every chicane and artifice of the 

law to put off their trials, in order to give us time, 

if possible, to arrive to their relief. This person 

left Brest on the yth of this month and I trust he 

arrived safe, but in the meantime I am in the most 

extreme anxiety and distress of mind. If we 

reach Ireland, which we may now, as I hope, do 

in ten days, supposing no unlucky accident, we 

shall, I trust, be in time to extricate them, but if 



68 THE LETTERS OF 

unfortunately we should be too late for that, at 
least we shall be in time to revenge them, and in 
that case woe to their persecutors. 

While I am on the subject of my friends I am to 
acquaint you that our poor friend Major Sweetman 
was, unfortunately, killed in a duel near London, 
in January last. It was in the English papers 
I saw this intelligence, and I do not think I was 
ever more shocked in my life ; I did not recover 
my spirits for a month after, and even yet I think 
of his death with the utmost regret, in which I am 
sure you will join me. Not to speak of my personal 
regret for him I need not mention what a loss we 
have of him at this moment when his courage, 
talents, and patriotism would be of such essential 
service. I am most sincerely sorry for him on 
every account, public and private, and I did not 
think I could have been so affected as I was by 
his death. 

To return to our own affairs. On your arrival 
at Havre you will, of course, agreeably to my 
former directions, have written to Madgett who 
will forward you this, as I send it to him under 
cover. My first design was that you should go 
on to Paris, but on further recollection, living there 
is so very expensive as well as travelling also, 
that you had better fix yourselves until you hear 



THEOBALD \VOLFE TONE. 69 

from me at some of the villages within a few leagues 
of Havre, where you will hire lodgings and make 
your own kitchen, etc. There is a village called 
Yvetot that I think would suit you. If anything 
should happen to me you will have no business 
on to Paris and in that case if your determination 
be to settle in France you can fix yourself in some 
little spot in that neighbourhood as well as anywhere 
else and Matt must do his best for you all in my 
place. If you should resolve to return to America 
you will be near Havre from whence you will have 
the most frequent opportunities ; and I confess, 
under the circumstances I would recommend 
Carolina and especially Georgia where land is very 
cheap, before France, where you will labor, I fear, 
under insurmountable difficulties from your ignorance 
of the language, customs and manners. If, as I 
hope and trust, I arrive safe in Ireland and we 
succeed, as in that case I think we infallibly shall, 
still, I wish you rather to be at Yvetot for example 
than at Paris, for the sake of economy as well as a 
thousand other reasons. If you do not arrive 
soon, it is probable you may receive another letter 
with this, for the very first thing I shall do after 
our landing, will be, you may be sure, to write 
to you, under cover as before to Mr. Madgett, 
and I will also take care to remit you money for your 



70 THE LETTERS OF 

occasions, and the very first moment that my duty 
will permit I will fly with the utmost eagerness 
to embrace you all ; God only knows how I long 
for that moment. 

This letter is dreadfully unconnected, but the 
fact is I write in a state of the utmost anxiety and 
incertitude ; if I remained in France arid you were 
with my babies on the ocean, it would be full 
sufficient to keep me in continual uneasiness ; 
or if you were here safe arrived and I was embarked, 
though my anxiety would be infinitely lessened, 
still I should have full sufficient to occupy me ; 
but situated as we are I have both to encounter ; 
uncertain of your fate and that of our children, 
uncertain of my own in which you and they are 
so deeply interested, I think it is hardly possible 
to conceive a more painful and anxious situation ; 
add to this that I am obliged to devour my uneasiness, 
from the fear of appearing disheartened at the 
moment of embarkation. Well, the uncertainty 
of the affair at least will soon have an end. Ten 
days I think now must settle it, and I am sure no 
extremity, scarcely, can be so terrible as the state 
of suspense in which I now find myself. If we 
succeed in our enterprise, I never will again hazard 
my happiness and yours, for any imaginable tempta- 
tion of honour or interest ; if we fail, at least 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



it is in an honourable cause, and on just principles, 
and in either case you shall not hear of my behaving 
in a manner to cause you or my children to blush 
for me. 

I have this moment received orders to embark 
in half an hour. I have, of course, time to add no 
more. ' I recommend you all to the protection 
of heaven. God Almighty forever bless and protect 
you. Adieu, my dearest life and soul. Kiss my 
darling babies for me ten thousand times, and love 
me ever as I love you. 

Once more adieu ! 

T. W. TONE. 
Brest, December 2nd, 1796. 

Hoche sailed from Brest on the I5th December, 
1796. The wretched state ,of the French Navy had 
hampered and delayed his projects, and the opposition 
to his plans evinced by many of the naval officers 
had given him endless trouble. " God keep me from 
having anything to do with the navy" he wrote 
after he had struggled ineffectually for several months 
to get the ships ready to carry his soldiers to Ireland. 
At last these difficulties were overcome, and the 
ships got under way. 

Never was a great expedition destined to 
encounter extraordinary risks and to brave one of 



72 THE LETTERS OF 

the stormiest of seas more favoured than this 
at the first was by the elements and by the mis- 
management of its enemies. For nearly six weeks 
before it sailed the winds prevailed from the East ; 
and during the passage, in midwinter, fine weathei 
with favourable winds lasted until the bulk of the 
Fleet reached the Irish coast. Nor was an enemy's 
vessel met to take advantage of the crowded and 
inefficient condition of the French ships. 

But this unequalled good fortune was more than 
counterbalanced by the enfeebled state of the French 
Navy. The decay of material, the want of seamen, 
the disappearance of trained officers during the 
Revolution, and the insubordination of those that 
remained, all contributed to ruin the expedition. 
When the ships left Brest, from the inexperience of 
their officers they were unable to form, and proceeded 
in disorder towards the dangerous Passage du Raz. 
As night fell the Admiral altered the course. In the 
confusion and growing darkness his order was not 
understood. A few followed his order, the majority 
kept on their course, and thus at the very moment 
of starting, Hoche, who was on board the Admiral's 
ship was separated from his command. Two days 
after the start the French ships were divided into three 
bodies, each of which was ignorant of the whereabouts 
of the other, and after two days more, two of these 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 73 

bodies united. This force comprised thirty-five out of 
the forty-three ships of the expedition, but the 
Fraternite with Hoche and the Admiral on board 
was among the missing vessels. The weather at 
times was foggy and it was discovered by a subsequent 
examination of the logs, that had the fog which 
covered the ocean on the 20th December lifted, the 
Fraternite would have been within sight of the main 
body, which under Admiral Bouvet was steering 
for Mizen Head. 

It is curious to record that Tone, as he paced the 
deck of the Indomptable in an agony of apprehension 
at Hoche' s disappearance, recorded in his Diary on 
the i8th December : 

At nine this morning, a fog so thick that we 

cannot see a ship's length before us ... we 

may be for aught I know within a quarter of a mile 

of our missing ships without knowing it. 

On December 2ist, the main body sighted the 

Irish coast and they shortly made the entrance of 

Bantry Bay. The East wind which had hitherto 

favoured the French ships was dead against their 

entering the bay, which, from its entrance to its head 

runs east-north-east. Within thirty miles of their 

destination unfavourable winds put an end to their 

progress. The weakness of the expedition in the 

circumstances became painfully apparent. Crews, 



74 THE LETTERS OF 

composed mainly of landsmen with a very small 
sprinkling of able seamen, impeded at every 
turn by the soldiers who crowded the decks 
were unable to beat against a head wind in a narrow 
bay. Such conditions would have taxed the smartest 
ship with the channel clear of other vessels, but to 
a fleet manned and equipped as were the French, 
compelled to give way continually as they crossed 
each others paths, it proved impossible to reach 
the head of the bay where shelter would have been 
found and a landing effected. 

On the night of December 2ist and all day of the 
22nd, the wind blew with relentless fury, and at 
nightfall, Admiral Bouvet anchored with fifteen ships 
twelve miles from the head of the bay. The other 
twenty ships were still outside. On the 23rd the 
wind continued, and no progress was made, and the 
twenty outside were blown to sea. On the 24th 
it was decided to attempt a landing but no progress 
could be made, and during that night the wind rose 
to a gale. Several ships dragged and some cables 
parted. Soon after nightfall the cable of Bouvet' s 
ship gave way and she began to drive upon Bear Island. 
A second anchor failing to hold, the Admiral cut 
his cables and put to sea, signalling the other vessels 
to do likewise. Ten of the ships held on till the 
27th, including the Indomitable with Tone on board. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 75 

They had 4,oro soldiers aboard, but cannon, ammuni- 
tion, and provisions were lacking, and this rendered 
landing useless. The wind changing to south-west 
and threatening a storm on the 2jth, they were 
compelled to sail for Brest where they arrived on 
the i^th January. Rear Admiral Bouvet had long 
preceeded them, having arrived on the ist of the 
month. By the fourteenth of January thirty-five 
of the expedition, including the Fraternite with Hoche 
on board had returned safe, though greatly battered 
by the storms to French ports. Five had been 
wrecked and six were captured by the English. 
Bouvet was dismissed from the French navy by the 
Directory for having too soon abandoned the enterprise. 

The Fraternite never reached Bantry Bay at all. 
On the 24th she was pursued by a ship which was 
presumed to be an English ship of the line, and when 
she had thrown off her pursuer the French frigate 
again shaped her course for Bantry Bay. But the 
gale which drove Bouvet from his anchorage prevented 
her progress and on the 2Qth, meeting with some of 
the ships from Bantry Bay, Hoche learned of the 
dispersal of the fleet and in consequence returned 
to Brest, arriving on I3th January. 

The inability of the French fleet to make the last 
thirty miles was the decisive factor in the failure of 
the attempt. They succeeded completely in evading 



76 THE LETTERS OF 

the English fleet. The French ships reached Bantry 
Bay on 2ist December. On the 23rd December 
the English Admiral who was supposed to be 
blockading Brest, discovered that they had sailed, 
and did not know their destination. Not till the 
3ist December was it known in London that the 
French had appeared off the Irish coast, and at 
that time the English Home Fleet had not put to 
sea. Only the continued bad weather prevented 
the landing. Had it occurred, Cork, only forty-five 
miles distant, would inevitably have fallen. " \Ye 
propose to make a race for Cork as though the devil 
were in us" wrote Tone in his diary. In Cork, were 
collected stores and supplies to the value of 1,500,000 
including the provisions for feeding the English navy 
during the next year. The absence of Hoche was 
a disaster, but even this might have been remedied 
by his subsequent junction with his soldiers, had 
these succeeded in effecting a landing. The storms 
alone prevented, in spite of the inefficient state of 
the French navy, the success of an expedition which 
might have altered the whole history of Europe.* 
I must refer the reader to Tone's own account 
of his feelings and sufferings during the tragic days 

* In the foregoing narrative, I have followed the account 
.s*iveu by Admiral Mahan in his Influence of Sea Power upon 
'.he French Revolution and Empire, and I desire to acknowledge 
my indebtedness to his book.- Ed 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 77 

in which all his hopes of success were shattered. 
On his return to France he learned that his wife and 
children had come from America and were in Ham- 
burgh. Mrs. Tone's letter apprised him of her very 
poor state of health and also of the engagement 
of his sister Mary. To both of these he refers in a 
letter written a few days after his return to France. 

Paris, ijth January, 1797. 
My Dearest Love, 

I have this instant received your letter which I 

have read with a mixture of pleasure and pain which 

I cannot describe. Thank God you are safe thus 

far, with our darling babies. I will not hear, I 

will not believe that your health is not in the best 

possible state ; at the same time I entreat you as 

you value my life that you may take all possible 

care of yourself ; for you know very well 

if anything were to happen you I could 

not survive you, and then what would become 

of the little things ? But let me tell you first about 

myself. I am only this morning arrived at Paris 

from Brest, whence I was despatched by the 

General commanding the Army* intended for 

* Genera! Grouchy -the second in command took over the 

chief command when Hoche was separated from the expedition. 

Grouchy has often been blamed for the failure to effect a landing. 

He was eager to land but the ships were unable to make the 

head of the bay. The Admiral was dismissed and Grouchy 

exonerated. Tone did not blame Grouchy for their failure. 



78 THE LETTERS OF 

Ireland, in the absence of General Hoche, in order 
to communicate with the Executive Directory. 
I am at present Adjutant-General, and I can 
live on my appointments and when the peace comes 
we will rent a cabin and a garden and be as happy 
as Emperors on my half pay ; at the same time 
I am not without hopes that the Government may 
do something better for me ; but for all this it is 
indispensable that you be in rude health. Who 
will milk the cows or make the butter if you are 
not stout ? Indeed, my dearest love, I cannot 
write with the least connection when there is a 
question of your safety ; let me begin again. 
The sixteenth of last month we sailed from 
Brest with seventeen sail of the line, besides 
frigates, etc., to the number in all of forty-three sail, 
having on board 15,000 troops and 45,000 stand 
of arms, with Artillery, etc. We were intended 
for Ireland, but no unfortunate fleet was ever so 
tossed by storm and tempest ; at length the 
division, in which I embarked was forced to return 
to Brest, the second of this month after lying 
eight days in Bantry Bay near Cork without being 
able to put a man ashore. We brought back about 
5,000 men and as the General has not yet returned 
we are in great hopes that he has effected a landing 
with the other 10,000, in which case we shall retrieve 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 79 

every thing. In the meantime I am here waiting 
the orders of the Government. If the expedition be 
renewed I shall, of course, return to Brest, if not, 
I will await your arrival at Paris. This is a hasty 
sketch of my affairs but I have a Journal for you 
in eleven little volumes; I have only to add that 
I am in the highest health and should be in as good 
spirits if it were not for those two cruel lines where 
you speak of yourself. 

Let me now come to your affair, or rather 
Mary's. I will give my opinion in one word by 
saying that I leave everything to her own decision ; 
I have no right, and if I had, I have no wish to put 
the smallest constraint upon her inclination ; 
I certainly feel a satisfaction at the prospect of 
her being settled and I entreat her to receive my 
most earnest and anxious wishes for her future 
happiness. As far, therefore, as my consent may 
be necessary, I give it in the fullest and freest 
manner, and I write to Monsieur Giauque * 
accordingly by the same post which brings you 
this. When an affair of that kind is once deter- 
mined upon, I do not see the use of delay, and, 
therefore, I think they had better be married in 
Hamburgh ; but I hope Monsieur Giauque will 

* Monsieur Giauque a young Swiss merchant, met Mary 
Tone on the ship on which she returned to Kurope, and shortly 
after, married her at Hamburg, 



8o THE LETTERS OF 



have the goodness to see you safe into France, 
when the season is sufficiently advanced to admit 
of your travelling ; for I will not hear of you 
exposing yourself and our children in this dreadful 
season. Indeed, at any rate, until my business 
here is decided you had better remain at Hamburgh 
or some village in the neighbourhood, according 
as you find most agreeable to your health and 
circumstances ; the expense will be much the 
same as in France and you will not hazard your 
safety. I shall soon know now whether our affair 
will be prosecuted or not ; if it is I am of course, 
compelled to take my share and must return to 
my post, if it is not, I will go for you myself to 
Hamburgh ; but in all events I positively desire 
and enjoin you not to stir until the season will 
admit of your travelling without injury to your 
health and I hope the marriage of Monsieur Giauque 
and Mary may render your stay, for a short period, 
both convenient and agreeable. 

To return to my own affairs ; you desire me to 
write something comfortable and in consequence 
I tell you in the first place that I doat upon you 
and the babies ; and in the next place that my 
pay and appointments amount to near eight 
thousand livres a year, of which one-fourth is paid 
in cash, and the remainder in paper ; so that I 



THEOBALD WOLFE TOXE. 81 

receive now about eight}" -four pounds sterling a year, 
and when we come to be paid all in cash, as we 
shall be some time or another, my pay will be 
about three hundred and fifty pounds sterling 
a year ; but supposing it to be no more than eighty- 
four pounds sterling a year, I will rent a cottage and 
a few acres of land within a few miles of Paris, in 
order to be on the spot, and with our eighty-four 
pounds a year, a couple of cows, a hog, and some 
poultry, you will see whether we will not be happy. 
That is the worst that can happen us ; but if our 
expedition succeeds, of which as yet I know nothing, 
but which a very few days must now decide, only 
think what a change that will make in our affairs, 
and even if anything should happen me, in that 
event you and the babies will be the care of the nation, 
so let me entreat of you not to give way to any 
gloomy ideas. I look upon Mary's marriage, 
supposing the young man to have a good character 
and an amiable temper, which I trust he has from 
your report, to be a very fortunate circumstance ; 
for as to riches you and I well know by our experience 
how independent happiness is of wealth. 

When I tell you that, after tossing three weeks 
on a stormy sea, I have passed the last seven days 
in a carriage almost without sleep, you will not 
wonder at the lack of connection in this letter, 



82 THE LETTERS OF 

but I am obliged to write in order to catch the 
post. Your letter is dated generally Hamburgh, 
but I put mine in a train that I hope it will reach 
you. Henceforward, I will direct to you at the 
Post Office, where you must send Monsieur Giauque 
to look for my letters. I will write to you by the 
next post but one, by which time I hope to have 
some news one way or other for you. Direct your 
answer to Le Citoyen Smith, Petite Rue St. Roch, 
Poissoniere No. 7, a Paris. 

Once more, keep up your spirits ; be sure that 
if I am not ordered on the affair you wot of, I will 
go myself and fetch you from Hamburgh and as 
the weather will not admit of your stirring for a 
short period there is no time lost. My sincere 
love to Mary and the little onej. God Almighty 
forever bless you, because I doat on you. 

Yours ever, J. SMITH. 

Let Monsieur Giauque give his address and 
yours to the gentleman who will hand you this 
in case I should find it necessary to write by the 
same channel. 

Petite Rue St. Roch, 

Poissonniere, No. 7, 
Paris, January I7th, 1797. 

Dearest Love, 

I wrote to you on the isth inst., being the day 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 83 

after my arrival at Paris, from Brest, whence I was 
despatched by the General with letters to the 
Directoire. My mind was so affected then (and 
still is) by the apprehension of your illness, that 
I scarcely know what I wrote to you and I do not 
believe my present letter will be more connected. 
To begin with what interests me most, your health, 
I positively enjoin you not to attempt coming 
to France until I give you further orders. I suppose 
I need not say that my impatience to embrace 
you and our dear little Ones is fully equal to that 
which I know you feel to see me once more ; but 
I cannot permit you to undertake a journey of 
that nature in this dreadful season when there 
are so few conveniences for travelling, when your 
health is so delicate, and you have three children 
whose constitution cannot possibly support the 
fatigue and the cold. I desire you may immediately, 
on the most economical system, take a lodging 
for yourself and the babies, and make it out as 
well as you can until the beginning of April. In 
this Mons. Giauque, to whom I wrote in vile French 
by the last post, will, of course, assist you. I presume 
you will be accomodated equally well, and much 
cheaper in some of the villages within a few leagues 
of Hamburgh than in the city ; but you will decide 
for yourself. My wish is, however, that you 



should rather be in a villiage, if it were only for 
the purity of the air, and the convenience of having 
new milk, of which, I beg you, make the principal 
part of your diet. The children, too, will be better. 

By the beginning of April the stormy season 
will be over and then I think your best method 
will be to come on a Danish vessel or any other 
neutral bottom to Harve de Grace. It will be 
much cheaper, especially if you have any baggage, 
much shorter, and what I think more of, will 
fatigue you and the children infinitely less, than a 
journey of a thousand miles by land. I speak 
in this manner on the supposition that I should 
be at that time on service ; of which as yet I know 
nothing. If I am not, the moment I can quit the 
army with honour, I will the same instant set off 
for Hamburgh and bring yen with me to France. 

In my last I wrote you three words on the Fate 
of the Expedition. What the further decision of 
the Government here may be, I know not ; but, 
at any rate I am almost sure I shall receive, within 
three or four days, orders to return to Brest to 
headquarters, and probably some time will elapse 
after, before we know whether anything further 
will be done or attempted in the business ; so that 
you see by remaining as I desire at Hamburgh, 
you lose nothing, for, if you were even in France 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 85 

we could not for some time be together, and the 
expense will be just the same. If I find the expedi- 
tion will not take place I will apply immediately 
for leave of absence and join you : so once more, 
I positively desire you may not attempt to expose 
yourself and the children to the perils and fatigues 
of such a journey at this time of the year. Only 
think if you were taken ill by the road. On your 
allegiance do not stir until further orders, and count 
upon my impatience, in the mean time being equal 
to yours, which is saying enough. 

With regard to your finances, all I have to say is, 
that I desired Reynolds in my letter to get you specie 
for your stock, and not to meddle with bills of 
exchange, and I see he did not pay the least atten- 
tion to my request, " for which his own gods damn 
him." I do not well understand that part of your 
letter where you speak of having a bill on London, 
for |5oo which is not received. However, as Mons. 
Giauque is, or is about to be, one of our family, 
and as he is a man used to commercial affairs, 
of which I know nothing, I presume he will do his 
best to recover the money for you ; but if it should 
be lost, let it go ! we shall be rich enough to make 
ourselves peasants, and I will buy you a handsome 
pair of sabots, and another for myself, and you will 
see, with my half-pay, which is the worst that can 



86 THE LETTERS OF 

happen us, we shall be as happy as the day is long- 
I will, the moment I am clear of the business in 
which I am engaged, devote the remainder of my 
life to making you happy, and educating our little 
ones and I know you well enough to be convinced 
that, when we are once together, all stations in life 
are indifferent to you. If you are lucky enough 
to recover your five hundred dollars, do not take 
another bill of exchange ; but keep your money 
by you until you hear again from me. 

I am surprised you did not receive my last letter 
addressed to you at Princeton, because I enclosed 
it in one to Reynolds and Rowan jointly, which it 
seems they received, which is a little extraordinary ; 
however, as it happens, it is no great matter, for 
it is little more than a duplicate of the one you 
got by way of Havre. 

I am heartily glad that Matt is safe and well. 
If I had him here now I could make him a captain 
and my aide-de-camp, for a words speaking to the 
General, so that if he has any wish for a military 
life, it is unlucky he did not come with you, as I 
desired in my letter to you which miscarried, but 
perhaps it is all for the better, and at any rate it is 
now too late to write for him on that topic. If we 
succeed, by and by I shall be able to provide for 
him and all my friends who need my assistance, and 
who, luckily, are not many. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TCXE. 87 

Our expedition is at present but suspended ; 
it may be resumed, and if we once reach our destina- 
tion I have no doubt of success, and in that case 
I will reserve for Matt the very first company 
of Grenadiers in the army ; so Mary will have two 
brothers in that case, of the Etat militaire, instead 
of one, and perhaps she may have three, for Arthur 
(of whom I have not heard one word since he left 
Philadelphia}* is now old enough to carry a pair 
of colours. 

The uncertainty in which I am with regard to 
the expedition embarrasses me a good deal in writing 
to you. If it goes on, I proceed, of course with 
the army ; and in that case I have the warmest 
expectations of success, which will set us at once 
at our ease. If it is laid aside, that instant I will 
set out to join you, and console yourself for the 
delay by the reflection that for the reasons I have 
already given you we lose no time, for at present 
it is absolutely impossible that you should travel. 

In my last, as well as in my letter to Mons. Giauque, 
I gave my consent fully to his marriage with Mary. 
I presume in consequence, they will make no delay. 
If they should be married when you receive this 
give them my warmest and sincerest wishes for 

* Tone sent Arthur to Ireland at the end of 1795, to inform 
his friends that he was going to France. 



88 THE LETTERS OF 



their happiness Mary knows how well I love her 
and I hope and trust she has made a proper choice. 
I rely upon the friendship of Mons. Giauque to 
show you all possible assistance and attention 
during your stay at Hamburgh. 

Adieu, dearest love. I send this under cover 
to a gentleman at Hamburgh, who will, I hope, 
find you out. Write to me instantly and tell me 
that you are well, and as happy as you can be while 
we are separated. Kiss the babies for me ten 
thousand times. If I am ordered off, as I expect, 
1 will write again before I leave Paris. God 
Almighty forever bless you, my dearest life and soul. 
Yours ever, J. SMITH, Adj. -Gen.! ! ! ! 

I send you the names of several villages in the 
neighbourhood of Hamburgh, viz: Altona ; 
(irihdel, hors de la porte de Damthon ; Limsbuttel, 
hors de la porte d' Altona ; Ham, hors de la porte de 
Steinthor ; Eppendorfe, hors de la porte de Damthon. 
The address of the person who will (I hope) deliver 
you this is Mons. Holterman, demeurant N even- 
Wall, No. 123. If you remove, as I beg you may, 
to some village in the neighbourhood, it will be 
to him I shall direct my letters, so you will take 
care to give him your address. In all this Mons. 
Gianque will, of course, assist you. Adieu, once 
more my dearest love. Do not attempt to, quit 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 89 

Hamburgh till I desire you. I will not attempt to 
express the admiration I feel for your courage, 
but remember, courage and rashness are two 
different things. For my sake and for the sake of 
our dear babies, take care of your health. I am 
in a state of anxiety on your account, which no 
words can express ; I doat upon you, my life lies 
in you, I could not survive you four and twenty 
hours. If you do not wish to deprive our children 
of both their parents do not attempt to stir until 
I permit you. Count upon my love for you, and 
our dear, dear babies. The tears gush into my 
eyes, so that I can scarcely see what I write, and I 
am not very subject to that weakness. I trust in 
God it is only the fatigue of the journey from 
Cuxhaven that has affected you. Dear, dear love, 
take care of yourself and do not let your impatience 
to see me induce you to expose your health. If 
that will not do, I order you, as a General, not to 
quit your post without my permission. 

J.S. 

nth February, 1797. 
My Dearest Life and Soul, 

Your letter of the 2bth of last month has taken a 
mountain off my breast. I hope and trust you are 
daily getting better, and that the terrible appre- 
hensions which I have been under since the receipt 



THE LETTERS OF 



of your first will be belied by the event. You 
do not know, you ugly thing, how much I love you. 
I hope you are by this, settled somewhere near 
Hamburgh where you may live at less expense 
than you can in the city, and with more comfort ; 
live with the greatest economy, unless where your 
health is concerned, and in that case spare nothing. 
In one word, take the greatest possible care of your- 
self for ten thousand reasons, one of which is that 
if anything were to happen to you I could not, 
I think, live without you. When I have lately been 
forced once or twice to contemplate that most 
terrible of all events, you cannot imagine to yourself 
what a dreary wilderness the world appeared to me, 
and how helpless and desolate I seemed to myself. 
But let us quit this dispiriting subject and turn 
to another more encouraging 

I gave you in my last a short sketch of our unlucky 
expedition, for the failure of which we are, ultimately, 
to blame the winds alone, for as to an enemy we 
.saw none. In the event, the British took but one 
frigate and two or three transports, so you see the 
rhodomontades which you read in the English 
papers were utterly false. I mentioned to you 
that I had been sent by General Grouchy, with his 
despatches to the the Directoire Executif, which you 
are not to wonder at, for I am highly esteemed by 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 91 

the said General ; inasmuch as, " the first day I 
marched be/ore him, thinking of you, I missed the 
step, and threw the whole line into confusion ; upon 
which I determined to retrieve my credit and exerted 
myself so much that at the end of the Review the General 
thanked me for my behaviour" ; I hope you remember 
that quotation, which is a choice one. I thought 
at the time I wrote, that I should be ordered back 
to Brest but General Hoche, who commanded our 
expedition in chief has, it seems, taken a liking 
to me, for this very blessed day he caused to be 
signified to me that he thought of taking me, in his 
family, to the Army of Sambre and Meuse, which 
he is appointed to command, to which I replied, 
as in duty bound, that I was at all times ready to 
obey his orders ; so, I fancy, go I shall. I did not 
calculate for a campaign on the Rhine, though I 
was prepared for one on the Shannon ; however, 
my honour is now engaged and, therefore (sings), 

Were the whole army lost in smoke. 
Were these the last words that I spoke. 
I swear (and damn me if I joke), 
I had rather be with you 

If I go, as I believe I shall, you may be very sure 
that I will take all care of myself that may be 
consistent with my duty, and besides, as I shall 
be in the General's family, and immediately attached 
to his person, I shall be the less exposed ; and 



92 THE LETTERS OF 

finally, " dost think that Hawser Trunnion, who has 
stood the fire of so many floating batteries, runs any 
risk from the lousy pops of a landsman ?" I rely 
upon your courage in this, as on every former occasion 
in our lives ; our situation is to-da}- a thousand 
times more desirable than when I left you in Prince- 
ton ; between ourselves, I think I have not done 
badly since my arrival in France ; and so you will 
say when you read my memorandums. I came here, 
knowing not a single soul, and scarcely a word of 
the language ; I have had the good fortune, thus 
far, to obtain the confidence of the Government, 
so far as was necessary for our affair, and to secure 
the good opinion of my superior officer, as appears 
by the station I hold. It is not every stranger 
who comes into France and is made Adjutant- 
General "with two points on his shoulder" as 
you say right enough ; but that is nothing I hope 
to what is to come (sings) " Zounds, I will soon 
be a Brigadier." 

If I join the army of the Sambre and Meuse I 
shall be nearer to you than I am here, and we can 
correspond, so in that respect we lose nothing ; 
and as my lot is cast in the army I must learn a 
little of the business, because / am not at all without 
very well founded expectation that we may have 
occasion to display our military talents elsewhere ; 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 93 

in the meantime, I am in the best school and under 
one of the best masters in Europe. I cannot explain 
myself further to you by letter ; remember the 
motto of our arms, " never despair f" and I see as 
little, and infinitely less reason to despair this day, 
than I did six months after my arrival in France, 
so (sings) " Madame you know my trade is war!" 
I think this a very musical letter. 

I have written by this post to Mons. Giauque, 
with a postscript to Mary, on the supposition that 
they are married. I most sincerely wish them 
happy, yet, I cannot help thinking how oddly we 
are dispersed at this moment ; no two of us together* 
I am sure if there were five quarters in the globe, 
one of us would be perched upon the fifth. M. Giauque 
wrote to me about a claim he has on the French 
Government. If I had stayed at Paris I should 
have exerted myself to the utmost, though I cannot 
say I should have succeeded, for we have here 
infinitely more glory than cash ; however, I hope 
I should, at least, have got an answer ; but now 
as I go to the Army (probably], there is nobody 
here whom I can trust with the application ; so I 
have written to him to keep the papers, etc., till 
my return, when I will do everything possible to 

* His brother William was in India, Matthew in America 
Mary in Hamburgh and Arthtir in Ireland 



94 THE LETTERS OF 

recover the money, or, at least, part of it. If I 
should not, after all, be ordered to the banks of the 
Rhine, I will immediately write him word, and in 
that case I will lose no time to make the proper 
application. 

As to Arthur, I am sorry for the account you 
give me of him. Without going into a history of 
my reasons, I would advise you not to send for him, 
until further advice. A few months hence will do 
as well and in the meantime my advice is to let 
him remain as he is. If I had him here, actually 
with me, on the spot, I might be able, by-and-by, 
to place him ; but we have not the time to wait, 
and so, once again, let him for the present, 
remain. 

As to Russell, I have known of his situation 
near three months. Judge of the distress I have 
felt and feel on his account, and that of his fellow 
sufferers. One of the greatest pleasures I had 
proposed to myself, if our expedition had succeeded, 
was to break their chains, and to make an example 
of their oppressors. I could give any thing to see 
the letter which you found in the papers. If you 
can lay hands on it, or a copy of it, enclose it to me 
in 3'our next ; make Giauque, or Mr. "Wilson search 
for it. (Apropos, I have been at Madgett's about 
Mr. Wilson's letters, but they are not yet arrived.) 



THEOBALD WOLFE TOXK. 95 

I am hammering at the possibility of writing a 
line to one or two friends of mine by way of Ham- 
burgh. Do -you know whether Giauque has a safe 
correspondent in London ? Consult with him, as 
to this, but with the most profound secrecy. If he 
can be serviceable, it may have a beneficial effect 
with regard to his claim here, for obvious reasons. 
I hope and rely he is a man in whom I may confide, 
especially in an affair which may materially serve 
him, and can put him to no possible inconvenience. 
Let me see how well you will arrange all this. 

As I shall remain, at all events, for a few days 
at Paris, I will write to you once or twice more 
before my departure. I must take up the remainder 
of this with a line to a young lady of my acquaintance, 
who has done me the honor to begin a correspondence 
with me. 

Your ever-affectionate husband, 

J.vS. Adjt. Gen. ! ! Huzza, huzza ! 
Dearest Baby, 

You are a darling little thing for writing to me, 
and I doat upon you, and when I read your pretty 
letter, it brought the tears into my eyes, I was so 
glad. I am delighted with the account you give me 
of your brothers ; I think it is high time that 
William should begin to cultivate his understanding, 
and, therefore, I beg you may teach him his letters, 



96 THE LET1ERS OF 

if he does not know them already, that he may be 
able to write to me by-and-by. I am not surprised 
that Frank is a bully, and I suppose he and I wilt 
have fifty battles when we meet. Has he got 
into a jacket and trousers yet ? Tell your Mamma, 
from me, " we do defer it most shamefully, Mr. 
Shandy." I hope you take great care of your poor 
Mamma, who, I am afraid, is not well ; but I 
need not say that, for I am sure you do, because 
you are a darling good child, and I love you more 
than all the world. Kiss your Mamma, and your 
two little brothers, for me, ten thousand times, 
and love me, as you promise, as long as you live. 
Your affectionate Fadof}, 

J. SMITH. 

P.S. Get paper like this to write upon, and fold 
your letters square, like mine ; or, rather, let 
M- Giauque do it for you. Let him also pay Mr. 
Holterman the postage of my letters to you. 

Paris, March loth, 1707. 
My Dearest Life and Soul, 

I have this instant received your letter, and you 
see with what eagerness I fly to answer it. You are, 
however, to consider this but as the prologue to 
another, which will follow it in four or five days. 
I must again begin with what interests me more 
than all other things on earth, your health. Let 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 97 

me entreat you, light of my eyes and pulse of my 
heart, to have all possible care of yourself. You 
know well that I only exist in you well-being, and, 
though I desire you to live and take care of our 
babies, whatever becomes of me, I feel, at the same 
moment, that I am giving counsel which I have 
not firmness myself to follow. You know the 
effect the imagination has on the constitution ; 
only believe yourself better ; count upon my 
ever-increasing admiration of your virtues, and 
love for your person ; think how dear you are to 
me but that is too little ; think that you are 
indispensable to my existence ; look at our little 
children whom you have the unspeakable happiness 
to see around you ; remember that my very soul 

is wrapt up in you and them, and but I need 

add no more ; I know your love for me, and I know 
your courage. We will both do what becomes us. 
In reading the history of your complaints, I 
have at least the melancholy consolation to see 
that that horrible disorder which, of all others, 
I most dreaded, makes no part of them.; thank 
God, you have no cough ! If I were with you, 
I am sure, what with my attentions about you, 
and what with my prescriptions, (for I think, 
in your case, I would become no mean physician), 
I should soon have the unspeakable happiness 



98 '1HE LE'LIERS OF 

to see you as well as ever. Rely upon it, that I 
will force the impossible to join you ; but, if I 
cannot succeed (without a forfeiture of character, 
which you would not desire, nor I submit to), 
we must endeavour to accommodate ourselves 
to a few months' additional separation, which, 
after all, considering what we have so long and so 
often experienced, we may well submit to. This 
very day the Executive Directory has ratified the 
nomination of. General Hoche, and I am, to all 
intents and purposes, Adjutant General, destined 
for the army of Sambre and Meuse. It is barely 
. possible that I may be able to change, or, at least, 
to postpone my joining the army for some time, 
in which case, need I say, you may rely upon my 
going to seek you ; if, however, I should not be 
able to effectuate this point, I count once more 
upon your courage to sustain a separation which 
is nothing in comparison of what we have suffered 
hitherto. 

I purpose dedicating the next week to a negotia- 
tion, in order to see if I can, honourably avoid 
joining the army, which, after all, I may, by 
possibility, be able to do, and, in that case, I will 
" fly upon the wings of love in the Exeter -wagon," 
to join you and the little things whom I doat upon ; 
if I fail, I ^fail, and in one case or the other, I will 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 99 

write to you instantly, to let you know the result ; 
but remember, dearest love and life, that, circum- 
stanced a,s I am here, my duty supersedes, and 
must supersede every other consideration. 

I look over your letter (malgre certain passages 
thereof) with delight. " jack thon'rt a-, thou'rt 
a, thou'rt. a toper, let's have t'other quart." (I beg 
you may sing that passage, or the beauty of the 
quotation is lost). What do you think I would 
give to crack a bottle with you and Mary to-night ? 
By-the-by, you are two envious pusses : for, 
in my last letter to her, there were divers quotations 
well worth their weight in gold, of which neither 
of you have the honesty to take notice, though I 
laughed myself excessively at writing, as I have 
no doubt you did at reading them ; but I see 
green envy gnawed your souls ; between ourselves, 
I grudge you the " ten pounds five shillings and 
two pence," which I confess would fairly purchase 
all the wit in my last letter. Well, God knows 
the heart; (Sings) "When as I sat in Pabilon- 
and a thousand vagrant posies ; Passion of my 
heart, I have a greater 'mind to cry." 

March nth. 

This letter, which I began last night, is in the 
style of all well-written novels, including, if I mistake 



ioo THE LETTERS OF 

not, Belmont Castle* where you always find two 
or three different dates in the same epistle. If 
you like it yourself, I can have not the least objection 
to your visiting at the Minister's : for, I am sure, 
in yom present circumstances, you ought not to 
refuse yourself any relaxation that was proper, 
and that, is both proper and respectable. I need 
not, at the same time, observe to you 'the necessity 
of your being extremely guarded in your conduct, 
in all respects, for a thousand reasons ; but this is 
unnecessary. 

The more I think of it, the more I fear I shall 
not be able to join you before this campaign is 
finished. " Madam, you know my trade is war." 
At the same time, it is not my intention to keep 
you in press at Hamburgh, if you do not yourself 
desire it. The beginning of May, if you find yourself 
stout, you may come by sea, in a neutral bottom, 
to Havre de Grace, as Mr. Giauque will fix for you, 
and so on to Paris, or fix yourself for the summer 
in some of the villages near the seaside, as you see 
best ; but this we will settle hereafter. What 
have you done with your bill on London ? I suppose 
you know by this that the Bank of England has 
stopped payment, and God knows what confusion 

*A Novel written by Tone and two of his friends, was published 
in Dublin. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 101 

that may produce in the commercial world ; perhaps 
we may lose all, which will be truly agreeable ; 
let me know about this in your next. I have 
written by a safe hand to America, to Reynolds 
and Matt ; and 1 have left it to them to decide 
whether the latter gentleman shall come on or not. 
The dog ; if he were here now, I could make him 
my aid-de camp for a word's speaking. Mr. 
Wilson's letters never came to hand. Dear love, 
I cannot express to you how weary I am of this 
eternal separation, and how ] long once more to 
see you and the babies. I would give a great deal 
of honor now for a little domestic comfort ; but 
what can I do ? You know my duty, and I need 
say no more. You know I am now in the pay 
of the Republic. (Sings/ " Here is a guinea and a 
crown, beside the Lord knows what renown" and, 
besides, but what need I multiply reasons. I rely 
always upon your courage, and you may be sure 
on my part, I shall expose myself to no unnecessary 
dangers ; the campaign, too, will probably be 
pacific enough on our side, for it should seem the 
great push will be made in Italy. I must finish 
this with a line to the Bab. God bless you. I will 
write again in a week, but do you in the meantime 
answer this. 

J. SMITH. 



THE LETTERS OF 



Dearest Baby, 

I cannot express to you the pleasure I felt at 
receiving a letter from Mamma, with a postscript 
of your writing. , I am delighted that your boys 
are well and good ; I desire you may not let William 
forget his fadoff ; as for Sir Fantom, I can hardly 
promise myself he will remember me. Take all 
the care in the world of your darling Mamma, because 
you know there is nobody in the world that either 
you or I love half so much ; above all things, 
do not let her catch cold. Have you any books 
to divert yourself with ? How do you like Ham- 
burgh ? Which would you rather be, there or in 
Princeton ? Write to me as soon as you get this. 
God bless you, my dearest baby. 

J. SMITH. 

Paris, March 25th, 1797. 
Dealest Love, 

I wrote to you, I think it was the I2th inst.,. 
so to-day, according to all probability, you should 
have my letter. I promised you to write again 
before I left Paris, and you see I keep my word. 
I received yesterday my order to join, and the 
money for my expenses, and I was in hopes to 
have set off to-day, but, unluckily, all the places 
in the Diligence were taken, which, together with 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONK. 10 



some trifling preparations which I have still to 
make, prevented me ; however, I have secured my 
seat for the 2Qth, which makes only four days 
difference, and I hope to be in Cologne by the third 
of next month. From Cologne to Hamburgh 
is not so far as from New York to Paris, and I give 
you my word, most solemnly, that the instant I see 
General Hoche I will demand permission to go and 
see you, and I hardly think he will refuse me, for 
reasons which I will explain to you when we meet, 
which I hope and trust we may now expect about 
the latter end of April, at farthest, viz. in a month 
from this. Dearest love, you cannot conceive the 
impatience I feel to join you and the little babies 
once more -an impatience which is multiplied a 
thousand fold, by the anxiety which I feel, uncea- 
singly, on account of your health ; 1 am more 
unhappy on that score that I am able 
to express. I hope you take great care of 
yourself, and that you have advice, if it be necessary, 
though, after all, I am sure I would be your best 
physician. If I succeed in the arrangement I 
meditate, with the General, I shall stay for, perhaps, 
two, or it may be three months in Hamburgh, 
and then I will bring you and the little things with 
me into Prance, and we shall have a most delicious 
journey through Holland, and the Low Countries, 



104 ^ H] 3 LETTERS OF 

;in the fine season ; but, in order to execute the 
aforesaid journey, it is absolutely necessary that 
you preserve your health, and keep up, especially, 
your spirits. I have five hundred little things to 
occupy me before I set off ; you must be contented 
with a very short letter, which you need not answer, 
for the reasons herein before set forth. " Oh, 
1 have business would employ an age, and have not 
half an hour to do it in." Adieu, dearest life and 
soul, and light of my eyes : I shall have a budget 
of news for you when we meet. Oh how I long 
for that meeting ! God Almighty forever bless 
you and preserve you, for me and our darling babies ! 

Your ever affectionate, J.S. 
Dear Baby, 

1 wrote you a few lines in my last, and I hope 
you got them safe. Kiss your Mamma for me ten 
thousand times, and the little Daffs ; the ugly 
little things ! I know you hate them, and your 
Fadoff. But what will you say one of these fine 
mornings when I walk in and catch you all together ? 
Do you know that I intend going to Hamburgh 
very soon, and that I will bring you all with me to 
Paris, and fix you delightfully ? Will you love me 
then, you ugly thing ? I hope you nurse your 
poor dear Mamma, for my sake, for I love her even 
more than I love you, Miss Baby I doat upon 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 105 

you all, you little things. God Almighty bless 
you, my darling child. 

Your affectionate father, 

J.S. 

Do not say a word to mortal that you expect me in 
Hamburgh, nor do not be unhappy if I am not 
there to the hour 1 mention ; it may be a few days 
later ; but your own good sense will suggest all 
that. Once more adieu ! 

J.S. 

Paris, 29th March, 1797. 
Dearest Love, 

I wrote to you on the 25th inst., informing you 
of my speedy departure from Paris. I have settled 
all my affairs here, and, to-day, at three o'clock, 
I set off for Liege, whence I proceed directty to 
Cologne ; I suppose I shall reach Cologne in eight 
days, and from the moment of my arrival I shall 
take my measures for joining you as speedily as 
possible. I hardly think I shall be refused, and 
you may be sure that nothing short of a peremptory 
order to remain, shall keep me from you ; at the 
same time, I do not disguise from you that 
I make a very great sacrifice in acting thus, and such 
as nothing, but the intolerable anxiety I feel for 
your health, could induce me to submit to ; but, 



io6 THE LETTERS OF 

when that is at stake, I would sacrifice all the world 
to you. 

1 received your letter, with poor Tom's address, 
two days ago ; it was a long time coming, for it 
was dated the third inst. I beg you will return 
my thanks to Mr. Wilson for the trouble he was 
so kind as to take in transcribing Russell's letter. 
The pacquet addressed to him never came to hand. 

Monsieur Benard, the gentleman who delivered 
me your last, and who is Giauque's correspondent 
in Paris, spoke to me of his (Giauque's) claim on 
the French Government, and told me that he was 
in some negotiation with some person who had, or 
pretended to have, influence here, and who was to 
assist him in recovering the money. I did not 
conceal my opinion from Monsieur Benard : for 
I know that Paris swarms with adventurers, and 
especially of that class who, like Mr. Lofty, pretend 
to influence with persons whom they never saw ; 
so that the Directory and Ministers have more than 
once advertised the public, in the papers, to be on 
their guard against all such. I wish, therefore, 
Giauque, unless he has very good reason to be 
satisfied he is at present in a safe and good track, 
would suspend all further pursuit until 'my return 
to Paris, especially as I expect to see him in person 
in a month or six weeks ; perhaps I may be able 



THEOBALD \VOLFlv TON}':. 



to be of use to him, but, at all events, he will be 
sure his affairs will be in the hands of a person on 
whom he can rely. I w T rite to him by this oppor- 
tunity to that effect. 

Having written to you so very lately I have nothing 
to add. Dearest love, keep up your spirits, and be 
in good health, and let me find you getting daily 
stronger and better. I love you and the little 
things more than all the world, ten thousand times ; 
kiss them all for me, and love me ever as I love you. 

J.S. 

Do not say a word to mortal of my visit to Hamburgh, 
/or I shall keep a close incognito, and caution Giauque 
and Mary to that effect. "Sarvice to Saul and the 
kitten." 

You ugly thing, I doat on you. 
Baby, 

Kiss your little boys for me a thousand times, 
and take care of poor Mamma, because we both 
love her so much. I expect to see you in. a month. 
God bless you. J.vS. 

Cologne, April i8th, 1797. 
Dearest Life, 

I have this moment obtained my leave of absence, 
and the day after to-morrow I set out to join you. 
I shall proceed through Holland, as far as the 
frontiers of Germany ; but as George the Third 



loS THE LET1ERS OF 

, , 

by the grace of God, happens to be also Elector of 
Hanover, I will not trust my person in his dominions ; 
you will, therefore, on receipt of this, prepare to 
set off to meet me at the place which I shall point 
out to you in my next letter, but which I do not, 
as yet, myself know. I rely on the friendship of 
Giauque to escort you, and, if Mary can be of the 
party, I need not say it will infinitely increase the 
pleasure I shall feel at our meeting. It is absolutely 
necessary I should see Giauque, for reasons which 
I will explain to him, when I have the pleasure to 
see him. I write to him by this post. 

You will, of course, bring all your baggage, 
and your money, if any you have. I am not very 
rich, you may well conceive, but I learn that, 
from the first Floreal, (viz. the day after to-morrow), 
the army will be paid entirely in specie, and if so, 
I shall be able to carry on the war tolerably. 

" The cloak which I left behind me at Tarsus, 
when thou comest, bring with thee ; and likewise 
the books, but especially the parchments. In 
plain English, take care to bring my papers. 

Dear love, I cannot express the joy I feel at 
the prospect of seeing you once again '. I have an 
immensity of news for you, and all good news, 
both public and private. I say nothing of your 
health, because I will not suppose that you are not 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 109 

well. I hope you have, before this, two letters 
I wrote you before my departure from Paris. I 
will write to you again, most probably from Amster- 
dam. I have voyaged so much of late that I think 
now I could go round the world in a hop, step, and 
a jump ; and my voyages are not finished yet. 
(Sings), " In Italy, Germany, France I have been." 
I do not know so great a voyager except Master 
Fantom, who had crossed the Atlantic twice before 
he was three years old. Robinson Crusoe was a 
fool to me. I am writing sad nonsense, but I am 
so happy at the thoughts of seeing you that I cannot 
help it. I have every reason in the world to be 
pleased with my situation, and so you will say 
when we meet, which I hope now will be in about 
three weeks. Adieu, dearest life and soul ; I must 
go now about my lawful occasions, and to prepare 
for my journey. I embrace you with all my heart 
and soul ; kiss the babies for me ten thousand 
times. You 1 shall have my next, with full directions, 
four or five days after this. My love to Mary. 
Your ever affectionate, 

J. SMITH, Adjt. Genl, &c. 
Dearest Baby, 

I am just setting off to join you and Mamma, 
and I hope to have you both in my arms in a fortnight 
or three weeks. Love your boys for me, and let 



no 'I HE LK11KRS OF 



me see that you bring them and Mamma safe and 
well to your affectionate Fa doff. 

J.S. 

Remember, it is you that have the charge of the 
family on you. 

Daffy Bab ! Daffy Bab ! I suppose all my 
words are out of date, and that you have got new 
ones. But, no matter ; I will soon learn them. 
Kiss your boys for me, my dearest baby. I doat 
on you. 

Amsterdam, April 25th, 1797. 
Dear I,ove, 

I trust you have received my letter from Cologne, 
of the i8th inst. and that you have made yoxir 
preparations to set out, without delay, to join me. 
All things considered, I find I cannot prudently 
advance beyond the Dutch territory, and, therefore, 
I have written to Giauque, by this post, to conduct 
you, by the shortest route, to Groninguen, which is 
the town the nearest to you that I could fix upon. 
You will ha e this letter, I trust, the 29th, and if so, 
and nothing unforeseen happens to prevent you, you 
may be, I learn, here at Groninguen in three days ; 
but I allow one or two days for accidents, so I hope, 
deducting all reasonable deduction, to see you 
about the 3rd or 4th of next month, at which time 
I shall be in waiting at Groninguen. I rather suspect 



THEOBALD \YOI,FK TONE. in 

I need not press you to lose no time, as I judge of 
your impatience for our meeting by my own. 

I hope to see you so soon that I will not write 
you a long letter ; all I have to tell you is, that 
everything is going on to my mind. Kiss my babies 
for me ten thousand times, and make great haste, 
but not more than good speed, to join me. I insist 
upon your not over fatiguing yourself ; a day, 
more or less, makes little or no difference, and may 
materially affect your health. 

Adieu, dearest love. God bless you. J.S. 
I send this under cover to Mons. Holterman ; 
that to Giauque I enclose to Victor Pretre. Re- 
member to take leave of the French Minister. 
Dear Baby, 

" / have nothing to add." 

Your affectionate Fadoff, J. SMITH. 
My best respects to the young gentlemen, your 
brothers. 

Tone met his wife and children, accompanied 
by his sister Mary and her husband at Groninguen, 
in Holland, on Ma}* yth, and he gives a delightful 
account of their meeting in his Journal. For a 
fortnight they travelled through Holland and Belgium, 
till his military duties called him away. Mrs. Tone 
went on to Paris, and he returned to the Army of 
Sambre and Meuse. 



H2 1HE LETTERS OF 

Armee de Sambre et Meuse. 

Etat -Major General. 
Au Quartier '-General a Friedberg, le 14 Prairial, 

V an 5 de la Republique Francaise, une et indivisible. 

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. 

Dearest L,ove, 

You see what a flourishing sheet of paper I 
write to you on ; but the fact is, I have got no 
other. I arrived here yesterday evening, safe and 
sound, which is, in one word, all the news I have 
to communicate to you. The General is out on a 
tour, which may detain him five or six days, so I 
have not seen him yet ; in the meantime, I have 
got very good quarters, and, as we all live in one 
family at the Etat Major, I am as well and as happy 
as I can reasonably expect to be in your absence. 
It is much more to the credit of the French than 
it is to mine, that I have the good fortune to stand 
perfectly well with all my comrades. You may 
judge how a Frenchman in England would find 
himself in similar circumstances ; but this observa- 
tion I believe I made to you already. 

Dear love, I look back on our last tour with the 
greatest delight; I never was, I think, so happy, 
and more happy I never can expect to be in future, 
whatever change for the better may take place 
(if any does take place), in our circumstances. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 113 

It was delightful ; I recall, with pleasure, every 
spot where we passed together ; I never will forget it. 

But that is not what I sat down to write about. 
How is 3^our health at present ? How are your 
spirits ? Are you at Nanterre ? Have you seen 
Madame Shee ? How do you like Mademoiselle ? 
Are you fixed in lodgings to your mind ? Have 
you heard from Mary ? Has Giauque got you your 
money ? Have you bought your musical glasses ? 
How are the babies ? Does Maria pick at her 
guitar ? Is Will as good as ever ? Is Frank as 
great a tyrant ? 

"Are the groves and the vallies as fair ? 
"Are the sheperds as gentle as ours ?" 

I desire you may answer all these questions, 
especially the two last, which I look upon as of the 
most importance, and have, therefore, put into 
verse, it being acknowledged that poetry is easier 
and longer retained in the memory than prose. 
I desire, I say, that you may answer them cate- 
gorically, as also the following : 

Have you seen Madgett ? Have you seen Sullivan, 
his nephew ? Have you seen anybody else, whom 
I do, or do not know ? How did you stand the 
journey in that plaguy Diligence ? Were the poor 
little babies tired to death ? Were your compagnons 



H4 THE LETTERS OF 

de voyage civil ? Finally, how do you like France, 
in general, and Paris in particular ? 

I have now given you a reasonable litany of 
questions, which I beg you may answer the day 
you receive this. Madame Shee will tell you how 
she forwards her letters, and do you adopt the 
same plan. 

For news, we have none here ; we presume the 
peace will go on ; but, if it should not, you need 
not be in the least uneasy on the score of my personal 
safety : for we, of the Etat Major, being the 
gentlemen of the quill, remain always in our bureaux 
quietly, two or three days' march in the rear of the 
army, not only out of reach, but out of hearing 
of the cannon ; I beg, therefore, whether we have 
war or peace, that you may not make yourself 
unhappy by needless apprehensions. 

I have done for the present ; it will be a long 
fortnight before I receive your answer. Give the 
babies, as usual, one hundred million of kisses for 
me. I send this under cover to Madgett, who will 
forward it. . 

Adieu, dearest love. Odd bless. 

Your slave and dog, 

J.S. 
Baby ! 

"Sincerely don't you pity us poor creatures in 



THEOBAL1 ) WOLFE TONE. 



affairs ? " I am sure I have cut you there, baby. 
" Fie, what the ignorance is ! " 

Your humble servant, 

J.S. 
Head Quarters at Friedberg, 

25 Prairial, an 5. 
Dearest Love, 

I have this instant received your letter of no 
date, from Nanterre, and I am above measure 
rejoiced that you and our dear little babies are 
arrived safe, and I hope, by this, well : for I cannot 
allow you to be sick. I have now finished my 
letter, which has, at least, the merit of brevity to 
recommend it. What, in God's name, is T. doing 
at Paris ? and especially why does he go by a name 
so notorious ? I will whisper you that 'tis out of 
pure vanity ; but let it go no farther. (Sings) 
" Oh, 'tis thus we'll all stand by, the great Napper 
Tandy." 

Allons ! I am setting off this moment for Coblentz; 
from Coblentz I go to Treves, and from Treves, 
it may be, to Paris ; but that is not yet decided, 
so do not say a word of it to mortal soul living. 
All I can tell you is, that "/ shaved a great man's 
butler to day." The General made me a present 
yesterday of the handsomest horse in the whole 
Etat Major, which has broke me : for I was, as in 



n6 THE LETTERS OF 

duty bound, obliged to buy a handsome saddle, 
and furniture, &c. so (sings) " says this frog, I will 
go ride," &c. 

Adieu, dearest love ; write to me instantly, 
and direct to me A V Adjt. Genl. Smith, a Treves, 
poste restante. The ordonnance is bawling for me, 
so I must break off here ; but I will finish this 
letter (which I enclose, as before, to Madgett), 
at Treves. In the meantime, I am your's and the 
baby's most humble servant. 

"If the tail had been stronger, 
"My story had been longer." 

Adieu, light of my eyes, and not a word, upon 

your life, of my trip to Paris, which may not take 

place. 

My compliments a thousand times to Madame 

and Mile. Shee. J. SMITH. 

A few weeks after his return from the ill-fated 
expedition to Bantry Bay, Tone was again eagerly 
looking forward to the renewal of the enterprise. 
Hoche expressed his readiness to press forward with 
the project and the Executive Directory appeared 
determined to again take up the cause of Ireland 
as soon as opportunity offered. Hoche took over, 
the command of the army of Sambre et Meuse, and 
Tone, with the rank of Adjutant General was attached 
to his staff, in order that he might be near him and keep 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 117 

him in touch with Irish affairs. Hoche commissioned 
Tone to inform his friends in Ireland that both the 
French Government and himself individually, were 
bent as much as ever on the emancipation of Ireland ; 
that preparations were making for a second attempt 
which would be concluded as speedily as the urgency 
of affairs would admit and that it was a business 
which the French Republic would never give up until 
they succeeded. Heche's attitude was endorsed by 
the French Directory who gave a solemn and definite 
undertaking " that they would make no peace with 
England wherein the interests of Ireland should 
not be fully discussed agreeably to the wishes of the 
people of that country." 

Within a few months a formidable expedition 
was fitted out in Holland under the command of 
Admiral De Winter, and was ready to put to sea 
by the middle of July. The English watching fleet 
under Admiral Duncan was not superior, and every 
omen seemed favourable. When all was ready for 
departure a foul wind made it impossible to sail. 
The exasperated Tone as he watched all his hopes 
for Ireland again tremble in the balance, records his 
feelings in his Journal. 

" There never was, and never will be such an 
expedition as ours, if it succeeds ; it is not merely 
to determine which of two despots shall sit upon 



ii8 THK LETTERS OF 

a throne, or whether an island shall belong to 

this or that state ; it is to change the destiny of 

Europe, to emancipate one, perhaps three nations ; 

to open the sea to the commerce of the world ; 

to found a new empire ; to demolish an ancient 

one ; to subvert a tyranny of six hundred years. 

And all this hangs to-day, upon the wind. I cannot 

express the anxiety I feel. 

Week after week passed, and the wind still held 
foul. The English Fleet was reinforced, and became 
superior to the Dutch, and the provisions which the 
latter had embarked for the expedition gradually 
became exhausted. To meet the changed circum- 
stances, the Dutch changed their plans, and projected 
a descent first upon England, and then on Scotland. 
But all these came to nothing. " It is most terrible," 
wrote Tone. " Twice within nine months has England 
been saved by the wind. It seems as if the very 
elements had conspired to perpetuate our slavery 
and protect the insolence and oppression of our 
tyrants. What can I do at this moment ? Nothing. 

Tone returned from the Texel to F ranee, to 
find Carnot fallen from power and Hoche dying. 
Their successors were full of promises and good 
intentions towards Ireland but when Hoche died 
all real hope of French help died with him. More 
than any other Frenchman he grasped clearly the 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 119 

strategic importance of Ireland, and he was determined 
by every means to effect the separation of Ireland 
from England. His military talents and commanding 
position in the counsels of the French Directory 
gave to Tone his principal assurance of ultimate 
success in his mission, and it is hardly too much to 
say that the fate of Ireland at that period was linked 
with that of this French General. All prospect of 
effectual aid sank to the grave with Lazare Hoche. 
The French Directory still promised help, and 
after the peace with Austria it ordained the formation 
of I' Armee d'Angleterre, appointing Buonaparte to 
command it. Desaix was appointed to organise the 
new army Tone, never resting in his purpose went 
to him, and was promised a commission; he interviewed 
Barras, General Berthier, and Talleyrand, who gave 
his word that the Directory would have all ready for 
the invasion of Ireland, in April, 1798. He saw 
Buonaparte constantly, and was received by the 
great man with a cool politeness. He was fresh from 
his great campaign in Italy, and though he gave no 
sign as j'et, was already meditating other adventures 
for the "Armee d'Angleterre" than "the invasion 
of Ireland. Tone, however, had acquired such credit 
with the French Government that the Foreign Minister 
fearing that Pitt would send agents to France under 
the guise of refugee Irishmen wrote to the Minister of 



120 THE LETTERS OF 



Police ordering that none of them be permitted to 
remain unless they were vouched for by Tone, and 
when an Irishman named McKenna applied to Buona- 
parte to be employed as a secretary, though he was 
recommended by Tallien, Buonaparte told him 
to report himself to Tone who would report upon 
his application. 

The preparations of Buonaparte were made with an 
extreme slowness, and it was not till the 24th March, 
1798, that Tone got orders to proceed to the head- 
quarters at Rouen. He was appointed Adjutant 
General in the Armee d'Angleterre. Meanwhile, 
events in Ireland had been moving rapidly. The 
Government was steadily and by inconceivable 
atrocities committed on the unhappy people, driving 
them to take the desperate step of a hopeless insurrec- 
tion. Their leaders were nearly all exiled or in prison. 
As news of these happenings reached Paris, Tone 
redoubled his efforts to hasten French aid 
for Ireland, and once more he received a definite 
pledge, this time from Merlin, the President of the 
Directory, " that France never would grant a peace to 
England on any terms short of the Independence of 
Ireland." This assurance was repeated word for 
word by Barras, a few days later, but still the scourge 
fell mercilessly upon the bleeding back of Ireland, 
and still the Armee d'Angleterre was slowly being 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 121 



got ready at Rouen. Promises were made in plenty, 
but of performance there was none. Buonaparte 
had taken himself off to Toulon, whither he had been 
preceeded by Desaix, and his purpose was still unknown. 
The Armee d' Angleterre was left at Rouen, commanded 
in his absence by General Kilmaine. The French 
Navy was in a state of complete disorganisation, 
the Minister of Marine had no money the Arsenals 
were empty their naval stores were scattere'd over 
several ports, and their collection at Brest was im- 
possible, for the seas were swept by English ships of 
war, and of the French ships of the line hardly any 
were fit to put to sea. 

Napoleon at Toulon had his eyes turned to Egypt 
the French Directory were no longer the masters 
of their Generals, they had become the servants of 
Buonaparte the French Marine was incapable 
of transporting an expedition of any size to Ireland; 
and the Armee d' Angleterre was without orders, 
Thus matters stood when the Insurrection of 1798 
broke out in Ireland. A few days before, the French 
Directory had informed General Kilmaine that they 
had abandoned any idea of an attempt on Ireland. 
Among the Generals, of the Armee d' Angleterre, 
Kilmaine, an Irishman, and Grouchy alone showed 
any zeal for the Irish Expedition. This was the 
same Grouchy who was in command of the French 



122 THE LETTERS OF 

troops in Bantry Bay in 1796, and has ever since 
been unjustly censured for his failure to land on that 
occasion. The fault was not his for the truth of 
this surely, Tone, who watched his every action, is 
a sufficient witness. 

When news of the Irish insurrection reached France, 
Tone was recalled to Paris by the Directory, and in 
response to his urgent pleading they decided to send 
what help could be hastily assembled in the hope of 
enabling the Irish to sustain the struggle, until effective 
reinforcements could be got ready. General Humbert 
with a small force, was at Rochelle, and General 
Hardy with another was prepared at Brest, but 
before either was ready to sail, the insurrection in 
Ireland was drowned in blood. Humbert was ready to 
sail at the beginning of August. Three Irishmen, 
Matthew Tone, Bartholomew 'feeling, and Sullivan* 
accompanied him. 

* The nephew of Madgett, to whom Tone so frequently 
refers in his Diary. He succeeded in passing as a French 
officer when Humbert surrendered at Ballinamuck and so 
escaped the fate of his companions. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



KILLALA. 

The Humbert Expedition sailed from Rochelle, 
in August, 1798. They reached the coast of Connacht 
without meeting with an enemy, and landed at Killala 
on 22nd August. Killala was captured without 
difficulty, and at Castlebar, Humbert routed General 
Lake, who had vastly superior forces. 

An incomplete copy of General Humbert's despatch 
describing his landing is preserved in the manuscript 
volumes of Reports of Courts Martial, in the Library 
of Trinity College, Dublin, and gives a vivid account 
of the first and successful part of his brief campaign. 

.... A landing was ordered. General 
Sarrazin disembarked first at the head of the 
Grenadiers. I ordered him to march against 
Killala. He took possession of it with the bayonet. 
I appointed him General of Brigade on the field of 
battle ; the enemy was completely routed, about 
twenty saved themselves by flight across the 
marshes, the rest were killed or taken : Almost 
all the prisoners requested to serve with us; I 



i24_ THE LETTERS OF 

acquiesced with pleasure in this demand. The 
landing was completely effected by ten o'clock 
at night. 

6 Fructidor (August 23rd). General Sarrazin 
reconnoitred Ballina where he had a slight skirmish, 
the cavalry of the enemy retreating two leagues. 

7 Fructidor (August 24th). I marched with the 
army against Ballina. General Sarrazin at the head 
of the Grenadiers, and a battalion of the line over- 
threw everything before them. Adjutant -General 
Fontaine was charged to turn the enemy ; his 
attack was very successful, and he made several 
prisoners. I pursued the cavalry a long time 
with the brave soldiers of the regiment of Chasseurs 
on horseback. 

8 Fructidor (August 25th). The French Army 
were joined by Irishmen who were immediately 
armed and clothed. About eight o'clock at night, 
I marched to Rappa, and maintained that post 
until two. 

9 Fructidor (August 26th). The Army marched 
to Ballina when it took possession, and set out from 
that (at) three o'clock p.m. After a march of 
fifteen hours, arrived on the 10 Fructidor at six 
in the (morning), on the heights at the back of 
Castlebar. I reconnoitred the position of the 
enemy, which was very strong. I ordered General 



THEOBALD WOLFE 1OXK. 125 

vSarrazin to begin the attack. Some unskillful 
skirmishes were quickly repulsed. The Chief of 
Battalion Dufour attacked the left of the enemy 
with a battalion which was obliged to fall back 
exposed to the fire of more than two thousand men. 
General Sarrazin flew to its assistance, and repulsed 
the enemy. The English kept up for about half 
an hour a terrible fire of musquetry; General Sarrazin 
forebore answering it. Our fierce aspect discon- 
certed the English General. When the whole army 
arrived, I ordered a general attack. General 
Sarrazin at the head of the Grenadiers overthrew 
the right of the enemy, and took three pieces of 
cannon. The Chief of Battalion Ardouin forced 
their left into Castlebar. The enemy concentrated 
in the town and supported by their artillery, kept 
up a terrible fire. The Regiment of Chasseurs 
charged in the High Street of Castlebar and drove 
the enemy beyond the bridge. After several 
very bloody charges of both cavalry and infantry, 
led on by General Sarrazin and Adjutant-General 
Fontaine, the enemy were driven out of all their 
positions and pursued for two leagues. The enemy 
lost i, 800 men, of whom 600 were either killed or 
wounded, and 1,200 taken prisoners, besides ten 
pieces of cannon, five stand of colours, 1,200 mus- 
quets and almost all their baggage and stores. 



126 THE LETTERS OF 

The standard taken from the enemy's cavalry 
has been given in charge to General Sarrazin, whom 
I appointed General of Division, on the field of 
battle. I also appointed during the action, Adjutant 
General Fontaine, General of Brigade, the Chiefs 
of Battalion Azemad, Ardouin, and Dufour, Chiefs 

of Brigade I beg, Citizen Directors, 

that you will confirm these appointments and 
expedite the brevets with all possible despatch, 
and (it) will produce the very best effects. 

The officers and soldiers have all performed 
wonders. We have to regret some excellent officers 
and soldiers. I shall shortly send you further' 
details. It is sufficient to inform you that the 
army of the enemy, five or six thousand men strong 
has been totally defeated. 

Health and respect, 

HUMBERT. 

After his victory at Castlebar, Humbert issued a 
proclamation, in which he decreed the formation of 
the Government of Connaught. The members of 
the Government were to reside in Castlebar. There 
were to be twelve members, who were to be appointed 
by Humbert but John Moore, of Moore Hall, was 
named President of Connacht, and was specially 
charged with the duty of nominating his colleagues. 
The Government was charged with organising the 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 127 

military power of the province and providing subsis- 
tence for the French and Irish armies. 

Xo initial victory, however, could compensate 
for the utter disparity of strength between Humbert 
and the English Generals. The Viceroy Cornwallis 
assembled an army of twenty thousand men, and 
Humbert's little force was surrounded, and after 
a brief struggle compelled to surrender at Ballinamuck, 
in Co. Longford, on the 8th September. The French 
were treated as prisoners of war the Irish who had 
joined them were slaughtered out of hand, only a 
few of their leaders being taken prisoner. Among 
these latter were Matthew tone and Batholomew 
Teeling. They were hurried to Dublin Court- 
martialed, and hanged. 

Among the Papers of Major Sirr*, is a long letter 
from Matthew Tone, written to Wolfe Tone's wife 
in Paris. It describes the dramatic landing of rfum- 
bert at Killala. 

Donegal Bay, 

5 Fructidor (August 22nd), 

6 o'clock, morning. 

Dear Friends Gagin and Matty, 

The day I embarked at Rochelle, I wrote to you, 

in the letter, I gave you account of our Force, 

but, as it might have miscarried, I shall repeat its 
* Library of T.C.. D. 



128 THE LETTERS OF 



contents. We are nine hundred Infantry, and about 
one hundred Chasseurs and Cannoniers, with 
twenty or thirty officers a la suite. We have, 
besides, three field pieces, six thousand stand of 
arms, and a very adequate quantity of ammunition. 
I should also mention a large quantity of helmets 
and odd clothing of various colours which the 
General found in the magazines at Rochelle. Pat 
will look droll in a helmet without any corresponding 
article of dress. 

To come to our actual situation. Yesterday 
morning we arrived at the mouth of the Bay after 
a passage of thirteen days without seeing anything. 
We stood up toward .Killybegs harbour with a 
light breeze, and got within two hours' sail of our 
landing place when the wind died away. This is 
dammed unlucky, and has entirely deprived (us) 
of the advantage of surprise. The wind springing 
up contrary in the evening, we stood right across 
the bay to the County Mayo, where Killala, I 
believe, affords a place proper to debark. Night, 
and the want of a pilot obliges us to anchor in the 
middle of the bay. This morning, we are under 
way again, endeavouring to get into Killala, the 
wind not very good. I refer you to the map where 
you will see that we are both in sight of Killybegs 
and Killala Bays without the power of entering 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 129 

either-Pause here, my friends, and pay a compliment 
to my Patience, which suffers me to write in such 
a situation you cannot expect any coherency. 

We are surrounded on all sides by very high 
mountains. If there is any aristocrat within ten 
leagues of us with his glass on the top of some hill 
watching our motions and sending expresses in 
every direction these are pleasant speculations. 
I hope the rogues won't have the wit to destroy 
all the fishing boats round the bay for we are in 
great need of some to help us to debark. We 
have not as yet seen a single boat round the bay; 
on dit that we shall be in Killala in a couple of 
hours. Our Grenadiers will debark in their own 
boats, and if there be any fishermen, the rascals 
shall be made useful. I have no more to add; you 
shall have a line from me written on the back of 
my hat I have seen a print of Buonaparte in that 
attitude. 

i o'clock in the afternoon. 
My Dear Friends, 

I ask pardon of the Gods for having repined; 
we are clear in with Killala and have taken a little 
brig, a thing absolutely necesssary as our Frigates 
are too large to run close in. We have also some 
fishing boats. The pilot, who is up* gives us the 
* A United Irishman 



130 THE LETTERS OF 

best intelligence in the world. Scarcely any troops 
to oppose us and Jemmy Plunk et is at the head 
of the insurgents who are up in the County of 
Roscommon ; we have also taken a Lieutenant 
in the Prince of Wales' Regiment of Fencibles, 
going from Sligo to Killala, to take the command, 
or rather to join a company of Infants there, ditto 
a gentleman of Sligo, with him, a yeoman. They, 
I believe, are aristocrats. I offered to lay a guinea 
that if we please, we will be masters of Sligo to- 
morrow, without firing a shot at six. God bless 
you. Postscript shall be dated from Killala ; 
en attendant I apprize you that we hear nothing 
of any other squadron having arrived. Burke 
considers this letter as from himself. 
Killala. 6 Fructidor. 

Yesterday evening we landed, and drove sixty 
yeomen and regulars like sheep before us, a few of 
our Grenadiers only were landed and engaged. We 
killed twenty and made a dozen prisoners. The 
people will join us in myriads, they throw themselves 
on their knees as we pass along and extend their 
arms for our success; we will be masters of Connaught 
in a few days. Erin go bragh. 

M. TONE. 

The high hopes with which this letter closes, con- 
tinued for a short time, and then inevitable disaster 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 131 

overtook the tiny French force, and the Irishmen 
who accompanied it. Another letter, a copy of which 
is among the papers left by Dr. .Madden*, was written 
by Matthew Tone, after he had been captured, taken 
to Dublin, and sentenced to be hanged. It was 
written to the agent who conducted his defence, 
before the Court Martial. 

28th September, 1798. 
Dear Sir, 

As I know from experience that suspense is the 
worst of all states, I hasten to relieve my friends 
from it ; the business is determined on to-morrow 
is the day fixt. 

I request that no friend may come near me - 
sorrow is contagious, and I would not willingly 
betray any weakness on the occasion. 

Accept a thousand thanks for the interest you 
have taken in my affairs. Farewell. 

MATTHEW TONE. 

J^e was hanged on the following day. 
* Library of T.C. D. 



132 THE LETTERS OF 



V. THE CLOSING SCENE. 

The news of Humbert's victory at Castlebar reached 
France and stirred the French Director} 1 - to fresh 
efforts to send reinforcements to Ireland. In spite 
of the incentive to haste supplied by Humbert's 
despatch, the disorganisation of the French navy and 
arsenals was such, that it was not until the i6th 
September, that another small expedition was ready 
to sail. One ship of the line appropriately named 
the Hoche, and eight frigates were got ready at Brest, 
and General Hardy and 3,000 men were embarked. 
Though he was hopeless of its success, and knew he 
was going to his death, Tone determined to accompany 
Hardy. Such was the chaotic indiscretion prevailing 
in French Government circles, that a Paris newspaper 
gave a detailed account of the whole armament, and 
even mentioned that Tone would be on board .the 
Hoche, before the expedition was ready to leave France. 

Tone knew that these small expeditions were futile, 
and he saw clearly that there was no further hope 
of any attempt being made on a scale which would 
give the smallest chance of success. He deliberately 
made his choice, and having made it, played his 
part to the end with calm heroism. 



1HEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 133 

Knowing what awaited him in Ireland, he determined 
before he left France, t-hat in the last extremity he 
would not submit to the indignity of a public 
execution. He did not regard this as suicide, an act, 
which in any other circumstances, he strongly repro- 
bated but simply as choosing the mode of his death. 
His wife was the intimate sharer of every thought, 
and when she parted from him she to stay in 
France and care for their children, and he to go calmly 
resolute to his death in Ireland they both knew that 
they would not meet again. Her courage was equal 
to his ; she made no effort to detain him. 

Sailing on i6th September, the expe'dition escaped 
the blockading English fleet but next day, they 
were seen by three British frigates. One of these 
carried the news to Plymouth the others followed 
the French ships and sent word to Ireland of the 
approaching danger. The French approached Lough 
Swilly on the I2th October, to find three British 
ships of the line and five frigates waiting to intercept 
them. Bompart the French commodore ordered, 
his frigates to retreat and prepared to fight a perfectly 
hopeless battle with the Hoche. The French officers 
entreated Tone to make his escape on a fast schooner 
which accompanied the Hoche, and which sent a boat 
alongside for last orders just before the fighting 
commenced. He refused. The schooner reached 



THE LETTERS OP 



France in safety. The Hoche had lost some of her 
most important spars in a gale and was crippled before 
she met the enemy. Surrounded by five British ships, 
Bompart maintained a desperate fight for six hours. 
The masts and rigging of the Hoche were swept away 
her wounded filled the cock -pit, with five feet of 
water in the hold, her rudder carried away and with 
every gun silenced, she lay a helpless wreck. 
Then Bompart surrendered. Tone commanded one 
of the Batteries throughout the engagement and fought 
with the utmost desperation. 

The prisoners were marched to Letterkenny where 
Tone was separated from the French who were treated 
as prisoners of war, and was put in irons. He was 
taken to Derry Prison and then to Dublin. From 
Derry Prison he wrote to Lord Cavan who com- 
manded in the district formally protesting against 
his treatment, and demanding his right to be treated as 
an officer in the French service and a prisoner of war. 
Derry Prison, 

12 Brumaire an 6, 

(3rd November, 1798). 
My Lord, 

On my arrival here, Major Chester informed me 
that his orders from your lordship, in consequence, 
as I presume of the directions of Government, were 
that I should be put in irons ; I take it for granted 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 135 

those orders were issued in ignorance of the rank 
I have the honour to hold in the Armies of the 
French Republic ; I am, in consequence, to apprize 
your lordship that I am breveted as Chef de Brigade 
in the infantry, since the ist Messidor, An 4, that 
I have been promoted to the rank of Adjutant 
General, the 2nd Nivose An 6, and, finally, that 
I have served as such, attached to General Hardy 
since the 3rd Thermidor An 6, by virtue of the 
orders of the Minister of War. 

Major Chester, to whom I have shewed my 
commission, can satisfy your lordship as to the 
fact, and General Hardy will ascertain the authen- 
ticity of the documents. Under these circumstances 
I address myself to your lordship as a man of honour 
and a soldier, and I do protest in the most precise 
and strongest manner against the indignity intended 
against the honour of the French Army in my person 
and I claim the rights and privileges of a Prisoner 
of War, agreeably to my rank and situation in an 
army, not less to be respected in all points than 
any other which exists in Europe. 

From the situation your lordship holds under 
your Government, I must presume you have 
discretionary power to act according to circumstances 
and I cannot for a moment doubt but what I have 
now explained to your lordship will induce you 



136 THE LETTERS OF 

to give immediate orders that the honour of the 
French nation and the French Army be respected 
in my person, and, of course, I shall suffer no- 
coercion other than in common with the rest of my 
brave comrades, whom the fortune of war has, for 
the moment, deprived of their liberty. 
I am, my lord, 

With great respect, 
Your lordship's most obedient servant, 

T. W. TONE. 

dit Smith. Adjt. Gen. 

No attention was paid to his demand by Lord 
Cavan,and a further letter was sent to Lord Castlereagh, 
enclosing a letter to the French Directory, which 
he asked might be forwarded through the French 
Commissary for the Exchange of Prisoners in London. 
My lord, 

I take the liberty of sending to your Lordship, a letter 
for Citizen Moiu, Commissary for the exchange of 
French Prisoners, enclosing one for the Minister of 
Marine, and a short memorial to the Executive 
Directory. As I send them open, your Lordship 
will be apprized of my situation here, and I rely, 
in consequence, that no measure will be adopted by 
the Irish Government, as to me, until the decision 
of the Directory be known. The honour of the 
French nation is pledged to support me as a citizen 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



137 



and an officer ; I trust, therefore, his Excellency, 
the Lord Lieutenant, will be pleased to give the 
necessary orders that I be treated as a Prisoner 
of War, with such attention as is due to the rank 
I have the honour to hold in the Armies of the 
French Republic, in order to avoid the distress 
and confusion which must otherwise arise at the 
moment when so many thousand prisoners of both 
nations are in expectation of a speedy exchange. 
I mention this with the more confidence from the 
generous manner in which our Government has 
behaved towards such British officers of rank 
as the fortune of war threw into our hands. 
I have the honour to be, 
Your lordship's most obedient, humble servant, 

T. W. TONE, 

Adjt. Gen. 

Tone knew when he made these demands to be 
treated as a Prisoner of War that there was no likeli- 
hood of his protest being listened to by the English 
Government. He was too formidable an opponent to 
be allowed to live, now that he had fallen into their hands. 
His fate was sealed when the Hoche surrendered in 
Lough Swilly, and no consideration of clemency or 
international usage had the smallest chance of being 
allowed to weigh with the Irish Government. His 
friends, and many men who differed from him pro- 



138 THE LETTERS OF 

foundly in political questions did their utmost to 
prevent or delay his execution, but without avail. 
Thomas Russell in prison, wrote to many of them 
on the subject, and an answer to one of his letters 
from Peter Burrowes has been preserved among 
Russell's papers. Burrowes had been a member of 
the Political Club which Tone initiated in Dublin, 
in 1791, and, as a member of the Irish Parliament, he 
fought bitterly against the Act of Union. In the 
letter he disassociates himself from Tone's actions, 
but it should be remembered that he wrote to Russell 
in prison and that, therefore, his letter would be 
open to official scrutiny. 
Dear Russell, 

I shall not hesitate to give our friend every 
assistance in my power. Much as I condemn his 
later proceedings I cannot forget how estimable a 
man he was, and how much he was my friend. 
I must, however, fairly tell you that I think his case 
totally hopeless, and that postponement until a 
trial by Jury can be had is the utmost to be hoped. 
In a letter to Lord Cornwallis he has announced 
himself a French officer, and the nature of the 
expedition in which he was engaged cannot be 
doubted. 

The nature of his departure from this country 
will not furnish any legal advantages, and will 



THEOBALD WOIvFE TONE. 139 

raise the strongest prejudice against him. I under- 
stand he has given directions that no person shall 
be permitted to see him. Yet, I expect he will 
send for me. It is the most . . .* service I ever 
engaged in, but I shall not . . .* it, and if 
I have anything consolatory (of which I despair), I 
will put you in possession of it. 

Yours truly, 

P. BURRO WES. 

Burro wes' opinion of the hopelessness -of Tone's 
situation was quickly justified. He was tried by 
.Court Martial on Saturday, loth November, and 
sentenced to be hanged. After the Court Martial 
had concluded its business, and knowing that he had 
not now many hours to live, Tone wrote to the French 
Directory, on behalf of his wife and children. 

From the Provost's Prison, Dublin. 
20th Brumaire, jth year of the Republic. 

(loth November, 1798). 

The Adjutant General, Theobald Wolfe Tone (called 
Smith], to the Executive Directory of the French 
Republic. 
Citizen Directors, 

The English Government having determined 
not to respect my rights as a French citizen and 
* MSS illegible. 



140 THE LETTKRS OK 

officer, and summoned me before a Court Martial, 
I have been sentenced to death. In those circum- 
stances, I request you to accept my thanks for the 
confidence with which you have honoured me, 
and which, in a moment like this, I venture to say 
I well deserved. I have served the Republic 
faithfully, and my death, as well as that of my 
brother, a victim like myself, and condemned in 
the same manner, about a month ago, will suffi- 
ciently pjove it. I hope the circumstances in which 
I stand, will warrant me, Citizen Directors, in 
supplicating you to consider the fate of a virtuous 
wife and three infant children, who had no other 
support, and in losing me will be reduced to the 
extreme of misery. I venture on such an occasion 
to recall to your remembrance that I was expelled 
from my own country, in consequence of my attempts 
to serve the Republic ; that, on the invitation of 
the French Government I came to France ; that 
ever since I had the honour to enter the French 
service, I have faithfully, and with the approbation 
of all my Chiefs, performed my duty ; finally, 
that I have sacrificed for the Republic, all that man 
holds dearest my wife, my children, my liberty, 
my life. In these circumstances, I confidently 
call on your justice and humanity in favor of my 
family, assured that you will not abandon them. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 141 

It is the greatest consolation which remains to me 
in dying. 

Health and respect, 

T. W. TONE (called SMITH). 
Adjutant General. 

On the same date as the above quoted letter, he 
wrote a last letter to his wife. It was very brief, for 
such men cannot in such an hour lay bare their inmost 
feelings in formal words, .but as evidence of his invin- 
cible courage, and the restrained dignity of his character 
it remains the poignant and beautiful memorial 
of a man as truly great in thought as in deed. 
Provost Prison, 

Dublin Barracks, 

Le 20 Brumaire, An 7, 

(loth November, 1798). 
Dearest Love, 

The hour is at last come when we must part. 
As no words can express what I feel for you and 
our children, I shall not attempt it ; complaint of 
any kind would be beneath your courage and 
mine ; be assured I will die as I have lived and 
that you will have no cause to blush for me. 

I have written on your behalf to the French 
Government, to the Minister of Marine, to General 
Kilmaine and to Mr. Shee ; with the latter, I 
wish you especially, to advise. In Ireland, I have 



142 THE LETTERS OF 

written to your brother Harry, and to those of my 
friends who are about to go into exile, and who, 
I am sure, will not abandon you. 

Adieu, dearest love ; I find it impossible to 
finish this letter. Give my love to Mary ; and 
above all things, remember that you are now 
the only parent of our dearest children, and 
that the best proof you can give of your affection 
for me, will be to preserve yourself for their educa- 
tion. God Almighty bless you all. 
Yours ever, 

T. W. TONE. 

P.S. I think you have a friend in Wilson who 
will not desert you. 

He spent his last hours in endeavouring to insure 
that his wife and children should not be friendless, 
and though he had determined to see no one, he 
wrote to many friends, and received from them 
many assurances that his family should not lack 
protection. He wrote a second letter to his wife, 
the last that he penned, in the following terms : 
Dearest Love, 

I write just one line to acquaint you that I have 
received assurances from your brother Edward, 
of his determination to render every assistance 
and protection in his power ; for which I have 
written to thank him most sincerely. Your sister 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 143 

' 

has likewise sent me assurances of the same nature, 
and expressed a desire to see me, which I have 
refused, having determined to speak to no one of 
my friends, not even my father, from motives of 
humanity to them and myself. It is a very great 
consolation to me that your family are determined 
to support you ; as to the manner of that assistance, 
I leave it to their affection for you, and your own 
excellent good sense, to settle what manner will 
be most respectable for all parties. 

Adieu, dearest love, Keep your courage as I 
have kept mine ; my mind is as tranquil this 
moment as at any period of my life. Cherish my 
memory ; and especially preserve your health 
and spirits for the sake of our dearest children. 
Your ever affectionate, 

T. WOLFE TONE. 
nth November, 1798. 

After having done all that he could to provide for 
the future of those he loved best, Tone resolutely 
faced the end. Under the window of his prison, 
he could see and hear the scaffold being erected 
on which he was in a few hours to be hanged, and he 
declined the ignominy of the death that his enemies 
had contrived for him. He had secreted a penknife 
and that night, he inflicted a deep wound across his 
neck. In the early hours of the next morning, he was 



144 TH E LETTERS OF 

discovered by the sentry and a surgeon was called in. 
He reported that as the prisoner had missed the 
carotid artery, he might yet survive, but was in 
extreme danger. Tone is reported to have murmured 
in reply, " I am sorry I have been so bad an anatomist." 

He remained for eight days, hovering between 
life and death. On the morning of the igth November, 
he overheard the surgeon whisper that if he attempted 
to move or speak, he must expire at once. Making 
a movement, Tone answered, " I can yet find words 
to thank you, sir, it is the most welcome news you 
could give me." He died immediately afterwards. 

Among the collection of papers left by Major Sirr, 
there are a few having reference to the last tragic episode 
of Wolfe Tone's adventurous life. The first is a letter 
from Castlereagh to General Craig, authorising him 
to hand Tone's body over to his friends for burial. 
It is countersigned by Lord Kilwarden, the Lord Chief 
Justice. 

Allowed, persuant to the Statute, of 22nd Year of 
the Reign of King George III. 

KILWARDEN. 

Phoenix Park, 19. 
My Dear Sir, 

The Lord Lieutenant has referred your letter 
in respect to the disposal of W. Tone's body to me. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 145 

I see no objection to his body being given to his 
friends, but on the express condition that no 
assemblage of people shall be permitted, and that 
it be interred in the most private manner. 
I have the honour to be, 
Dear Sir, 

Your faithful servant, 

CASTLEREAGH. 
Lt.-Gen. Craig. 

Before his death, Tone left directions as to the 
disposal of his few effects. 

I request Major Sandys may take the trouble 
on the arrival of my trunk, to send it with the 
contents to my Father, except 25, which he will 
have the goodness to remit to Citizen Moiu 
Commissary for the exchange of French Prisoners 
in London. He will write to Citizen Moiu 
to send the money by means of the Minister of Marine 
to my wife, whose address I subjoin : 

Madame Smith, Chez le Citoyen 
Chevalier, Rue de Batailles, 
No. 29 a Chaillot, Pris, Paris. 

The remainder of the money in my trunk, amounting 
to about the same sum, is for my Father. 

T. \V. TONE. Adjt. Gen. 
ist November, 1798. 



146 THE LETTERS OF 

Major Sandys handed the money, intended for Mrs. 
Tone, together with a gold watch, to her brother, 
Edward Witherington, who resided in Dublin, but, 
with regard to the other moiety of Wolfe Tone's 
effects, the immemorial tradition of Dublin Castle 
proved too strong for him, in evidence of which we 
find the following petition from Peter Tone to 
the Lord Lieutenant : 

To his Excellency, Charles Marquis Cornwallis, 
I/ord Lieutenant General, and General Governor 
of Ireland. 

The Petition of Peter Tone, of the city of Dublin, 
Gentleman, 

Humbly sheweth, 

That your petitioner's unfortunate son, Theobald 
Wolfe Tone, having entrusted to the care of William 
Sandys, Esq., Prevote Major, a letter for your 
petitioner and his wearing apparel and some cash, 
the said Sandys delivered to your petitioner, the 
said letter, cash, and some few trifling articles 
of wearing apparel, not exceeding in value what 
your petitioner was obliged to pay for the carriage 
of the trunk containing them, but the principal 
articles, and which are of considerable value, he 
has detained and declines giving them to your 
petitioner, on the ground of their being forfeited 
property, though, if it could be supposed that in 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 147 

so small a matter, a claim on behalf of the Crown 
would be put in, such claim would not, as your 
petitioner is advised be established, no forfeiture 
having attached, because your petitioner's son 
was not convicted of any offence, previous to his 
death. 

May it, therefore, please your Excellency, to 
direct the said Sandys to give your petitioner an 
authentic inventory of all his said son's effects, 
and to deliver to your petitioner the part he retained 
thereof. &c., &c., 

PETER TONE. 

Apparently, the petition was not without its effect 
in making Major Sandys disgorge as in the Sirr Papers, 
there is a copy of an undated receipt : 

Reed, from Major Sandys 116 Crowns and a trunk 
of clothes, the property of T. W. Tone. 

PETER TONE. 



148 TI1K LKTTKKS OK 



VI. MEMORIES, 

News of the action at L/ough Swilly, and of the 
capture, trial, and condemnation of Tone did not 
reach Paris till the end of November. At first, it 
was stated that his wound was slight, that there were 
hopes of his recovery, and that the law courts had 
stopped his execution by the military. 

Matilda Tone was ill when the news arrived, but 
she went at once to Talleyrand, the French I-'on i; n 
Minister. Talleyrand introduced her to the I niuh 
Directory and I/a Reveillierre I/ is I'rcsidcnl , 

assured her that Tone would be instantly claimed 
as a French ollicci , ;md that Knglish officers in IMCIK h 
prisons should be held as hostages for his safely. 
The l'.:it.;iv;iin Republic also immediately took biiuibi 
action, as Tone held the- same rank in the Dutch 
service as in the French. 

Mrs. Tone asked the French Government to give 
her facilities to join her husband and nurse him in 
prison ; she hoped that the intervention of the 
1 n-nch Government would save his life, and that 
she might be allowed to share his imprisonment. 



THEOBALD WOLFK TOXK. i 4Q 

The French authorities readily gave her all the creden- 
tials and means she wished, and she was on her way 
to embark for Ireland when the news of his death 
arrived, and put an end to all her hopes. It is 
very probable that the efforts of Tone's friends in 
Ireland to delay his execution, and the interference 
of the French and Batavian Governments would have 
saved his life, had he not forestalled both friend and 
enemy by taking it himself. 

The fate of Tone and of his family excited the 
widest interest in Paris. When the news of his death 
arrived, the Directory ordered a payment of 1,200 
francs, and three months' pay from the War Depart- 
ment to be made to Mrs. Tone, and requested her 
to produce her titles to a regular pension. Brieux 
and Talle> r rand each offered to adopt one of her sons, 
and General Kilmaine offered to adopt them both. 
The French Directory decreed that the sons of Wolfe 
Tone be adopted by the French Republic, 
educated at the national expense, in the Prytaneum. 
Owing to changes in the Government, a regular 
pension was not granted until 1802. 

Mrs. Tone went to live near the college, where her 
boys were educated. She was very poor and 
lived very quietly. Early in 1800, she heard 
from William Tone, who was still in India. 



150 THE LETTERS OP 

Camp, on the Gour River, 

2nd January, 1800. 
My Dear Matty, 

" Your several letters, of the following dates, 
have all come to my hand : the first, dated Paris, 
ist May, being a miscellaneous epistle from the 
whole family, I received in September, 1798 ; your 
other two letters, of the dates of i6th December, 
1798, and 2Oth January, 1799, I received in October 
last. Some circumstances prevented me from replying 
to them sooner ; however, I hope I have answered 
them in essentials, having transmitted by the last 
month's packet, a bill on the house of David Scott, 
Jr., and Co., London, for the sum of 233 sterling 
which I hope you will have received before this 
reaches you. Mr. Scott was directed to send a 
bill for the amount, according to your directions, 
to Mr. Meyer, Hamburgh. And I trust that this 
sum will relieve your present embarrassments, 
until I can send a further supply. The dreadful 
information, respecting my dearest Theobald, had 
reached this country, long before your letter. It 
is impossible and unnecessary to describe what I 
suffer for this irreparable calamity. However, I 
feel that unavailing grief or unmanly lamentation, 
is not the part which is now left for me to act. 
Whether I loved my brother, and esteemed him 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 151 

as I ought, must now be proved by my actions, 
and not by my professions. This most unfortunate 
of all circumstances, has, in its event, imposed 
new and weighty duties upon me, which I prepare 
to discharge with the fullest sense of their import- 
ance, and I hope the manner in which I shall act 
in this new and delicate situation, will convince you, 
and the world, that my love and gratitude to the 
best of brothers and friends, has borne some 
proportion to his unparalleled goodness to me on 
every occasion. Many words are not necessary : 
in short, I live but for you and the children ; and 
I hope Almighty God will grant me life and means 
to fulfil the duties of a father to them, and a friend 
to you. And, rely on it, whilst I exist, my purse, 
person, and credit, shall be strained for your con- 
venience. 

The important duties of the children's education 
must be left entirely to you, and I have the consola- 
tion to feel that they can be no where under so 
proper an instructor. My part, in this business, 
will be to furnish the money, and this shall not be 
wanting. William is now old enough to be put to 
a classical school, and, if it nas not been done 
already, for God' s sake, defer it no longer. But I 
need say no more. Your own sense and observation 
will point out everything. Let us mutually labor 



THE LETTERS OF 



to make them accomplished, if we can't make 
them rich : your present situation affords you an 
opportunity of having them taught both French 
and German, and the knowledge of these languages 
may be of the first importance to them in life. 
But, on this score, my mind is quite eas) , as I am 
satisfied that nothing will be neglected on your 
part. I am happy to hear that Will is likely to 
resemble his father. He can never follow a more 
noble example, and I pray to God that he may 
resemble him in everything, but his misfortunes. 
This letter goes by an overland despatch, and I 
am restricted as to its weight. It is necessary, 
therefore, to be as brief as possible. My father, 
writes me word that Arthur wishes to come out to 
me, and that he had advised him to enter at the 
India House, for Bombay. But, if Arthur has 
not already taken this mad step, by all means 
prevent it. When I am able to send for him, 
I will ; but, if he comes out in the Company's 
service, I can do him no good ; and the best years 
of his life will be spent in blackguard idleness. On 
this head I will write further by the shipping. 
In your answer, explain your situation to me 
without reserve. Let me know what you can 
live for, genteelly, and educate the boys, and I will 
make my arrangements accordingly. In one word, 



THEOBALD \\OLFK TONE. 153 

inform me of everything in which I can be interested. 
Let me know of Fanny,* of whom I have never 
heard a word ; what Arthur is doing ; Mary' s 
situation and prospects, and everything else that 
occurs. 

I answered all your letters of Paris, both by 
ways of London and America. I know not if 
you ever received my letters. I there gave a long 
account of myself. At present, I can only say 
that I have been a little tinfortunate of late. In 
June was twelvemonth, I was attacked by a very 
superior force, and obliged to abandon my position, 
with all my baggage, in which I lost all I had, 
being with difficulty able to bring off my corps, 
with their guns and colours. Ill health afterwards 
obliged me to go to the settlements, and I resigned 
my command, and continued a year out of all 
service, which drained me of every rupee. I am 
now raising a regiment in the Mahratta service, 
which I shall soon complete. My pay is liberal, 
but my expenses necessarily great. I shall write 
more fully by the next packet. Mention me to 
the children, comfort them, and keep up your 
own spirits, on their account. Tell my beloved 
Maria that I have not forgotten her. In the 

* A younger sister of bis. She died of consumption before 
Wolfe Tone left Ireland. 



154 TH E LETTERS OF 

course of this year, I shall send you fifty guineas, 
to be laid out by her, under your directions, in finery. 
We must not suffer her mind to be affected, and I 
know, from experience, that nothing depresses 
the spirits of a young person so much as a want 
of little elegancies in dress. My love to Mary, 
and family, and to her husband, to whom I hope 
to be better known, and believe me, ever, 

Your truly affectionate brother and friend, 

WILLIAM HENRY TONE. 

William Tone was killed in India shortly after 
writing this letter, and his help so badly needed by 
Theobald's family in Paris, was thus cut off. 

During the five years which succeeded her husband' s 
death, Mrs. Tone must have been repeatedly in 
distress for money had it not been for Mr. Wilson 
of Dullatur, in Scotland, who acted as her constant 
friend and adviser. He managed her slender resources 
and when these gave out, his own became the sole 
support of her little family. This generous and 
constant friendship was continued after he had left 
France, as he left instructions with his bankers at 
Paris,thatthey should supply all the needs of Mrs. Tone. 
At length, after the rupture of the Treaty of Amiens, 
Napoleon, who had hitherto been deaf to all appeals, 
granted Mrs. Tone a pension of 1,200 livres for herself, 
and 400 to each of her three children. But before 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 155 

this relief came, Maria Tone had died of consumption 
(1804), and in 1806, Frank, the youngest boy, also- 
died. About the same time, a subscription, which 
amounted to 787, was raised in Ireland, and thereafter, 
Mrs. Tone and her only surviving son, William, were 
relieved of most of their financial anxieties. William 
Theobald Wolfe Tone entered the French service, 
and he published an account of his soldiering, in an 
appendix to his Father's life (Washington, 1826). 
In the same volume, there is an account of some 
of their affairs, written by Mrs. Tone. 

Only one letter written during this period in France 
by Mrs. Tone has been preserved. A copy of it is 
to be found among the papers Dr. Madder* placed 
in Trinity College. 

To Mrs. Margaret Tone, c/o Peter Tone, at 10 
Monk Place. 

May nth, 1810. 
My Dearest Mother, 

I have got an opportunity of writing to you, 
by a gentleman who promises to deliver my letter 
into your own hands, and yesterday evening I 
had just finished a long letter to you, and another 
to Kitty, complaining woefully of not hearing from 
you when I had the happiness of receiving both 
your letters of the loth April, which rendered all 
I had written useless. 



156 THE LETTERS OF 

My ever dear mother, it is a blessing to hear 
from you, and to hear that you are tolerably well 
and that you have peace and security, and are not 
exposed to inconvenience. These negative comforts 
are all that we can now aspire to, or that would 
become us to wish for, and for me, I am still hardy 
in mind and body to dispense even with them if 
they were taken from me, but, indeed, if you wanted 
them in the town where our Theobald was born 
and died, I think I should, in my despair, take 
counsel from Job's wife. And you cannot afford 
to keep poor Matt's little girl by you to support 
and to comfort your age. 

No ! I will never see Ireland whilst I can find 
a grave on any other part of the globe by land or 
by water, but let me say something that will comfort 
you. My William, the pleasure and joy of my 
heart, is coming on in every respect as well as heart 
can wish. He is not strong in health, but he is 
safe ; he completed his igth year some days ago, 
his growth is nearly finished, and his conduct 
is so correct, that I have no fear for him. He has 
gone through his studies with great honour, he will 
finish them this summer, and thinks of taking a 
course of law. Perhaps it is time to turn his 
education to some account, but in this country 
there is but one line, and if he must take that it 
will be always time enough. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 157 

The powerfully .... * when you see him, 
present him with the grateful homage of my respect, 
my esteem and my admiration. I cannot say 
more on this . 

Adieu, my beloved mother ; may God Almighty 
bless and preserve you. William joins in every 
tender wish. Whenever it is possible, I will send 
him to get your blessing, and return to me with it. 
I write to my beloved Kitty. . 

Ever your own child, 

JVL I/ONE. 

William Tone remained in the French Army till 
the fall of Napoleon, when he and his mother decided 
to return to America. Their old friend, Mr. Wilson, 
on learning their determination, came to France 
and offered his hand and fortune to Mrs. Tone. They 
were married on the igth August, 1816. 

On her arrival in America, the Irish exiles there, 
many of whom had been colleagues of Tone in Ireland, 
greeted her with deep respect. Dr. Madden has 
preserved the address of the Hibernian Provident 
Society of New York, which was signed by Thomas 
Addis Emmet and Dr. McNeven, and presented to 
Mrs. Tone in October, 1817. It expressed the deepest 
admiration for Tone and for the constancy and courage 

* Dr. Madden believed that this referred to John Keogh. 



158 THE LETTERS OF 

of his devoted wife. Her reply, sent in the form 

of a letter, was as follows 
Gentlemen, 

The sweetest consolation my heart can feel, I 
received in the proof you now give me, that my 
husband still lives in your affections and esteem, 
though, in the course of nineteen disastrous years, 
the numerous victims who have magnanimously 
suffered for the liberty of Ireland, might well 
confuse memory, and make selection difficult. 
I am proud of belonging to a nation whose sons 
preserve under every vicissitude of fortune, a 
faithful attachment to their principles and from 
whose firm and generous minds neither persecution, 
exile, nor time can obliterate the remembrance of 
those who have fallen, though uneffectually, in the 
cause of our country. For your gifts to my son, 
take his mother's thanks with his, while his mother 
tremblingly hopes that fate may spare him to 
prove himself not unworthy of his father or his 
friends. 

I have the honour to remain, with grateful 
respect, gentlemen, 

Your most obedient, servant 

MATILDA TONE. 
Mr. Wilson bought an estate at Georgetown, near 

Washington, and settled there with his wife and 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 159 

William Tone entered the American Army. In 1825, 
he married the daughter of William Sampson his 
father's friend and fellow- worker in the Society of 
the United Irishmen. In 1826, he published the 
Life of Wolfe Tone, and to that volume his mother 
contributed an appendix on her interview with 
Napoleon. Unfortunately it is too long to be quoted 
here. In it are given many details of her life in 
1' ranee, and her account of her interviews with the 
great men of the French Government, is told with 
a humour equal to Tone's. 

William Tone died on the loth October, 1828. 

The widow of Wolfe Tone survived the last of her 
children by twenty-one years. She died in George- 
town on the 1 8th March, 1849. 

A few years before her death, Dr. Madden published 
the Lives and Times of the United Irishmen. His 
volumes drew a letter from Mrs. Wilson at Georgetown, 
to the Editor of the New York Truth Teller. This last 
letter, written in extreme old age, proved that to the 
end the preoccupation of her life was to safeguard the 
memory of the heroic husband whose trials she had 
shared, and whose fate she had never ceased to mourn. 

GEORGETOWN, D.C., 
October igth, 1842. 

SIR, 

Since the first establishment of your paper I 



i6o THE LETTERS OF 



have been a constant subscriber to it, and have at 
present before me that of last Saturday, the I5th 
instant, in which you pass so beautiful and so just 
an eulogium on my ever-lamented friend, Dr. 
William James Macneven. But all I have suffered 
in the cause of Ireland gives me some right to appeal, 
and to complain that in that article you have not 
done justice to the memory of my husband, Theo- 
bald Wolfe Tone. You say, ' it was only after 
Theobald Wolfe Tone had been in France for some 
time, and had obtained a promise of aid from 
Napoleon and the French Directory, that these 
societies being repulsed by government, etc., etc., 
resolved on revolution, and a total separation from 
England.' This is all a mistake. In the year 1791 
Tone wrote the pamphlet entitled, ' An Argument on 
behalf of the Catholics of Ireland,' in which the 
present political state of that country, and the 
necessity of a parliamentary reform are considered. 
At the time of writing it, he was not acquainted 
with a single Catholic, but wrote on the general 
merits of the case and unnatural state of the country, 
and printed anonymous. But the Catholic leaders 
called on the writer to make himself known, re- 
published and circulated the work, and by a resolu- 
tion of the general committee, John Keogh, of 
Mount Jerome, and John Sweetman, were ordered 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. . 161 

to wait on him, offering him the situation of agent 
and assistant secretary to the general committee 
of the Catholics of Ireland. I may say he was both 
trusted and beloved by them, and he loved and 
honoured them. His whole time and talents were 
devoted to them and to their cause. He was con- 
sulted by them, and advised them he wrote all 
their publications he was the only Protestant 
admitted at the Catholic Convention he wrote 
their petition to the King, and accompanied the 
delegation that carried it to England, and on the 
dissolution of the committee he was publicly thanked 
by them. I have the vote engrossed on vellum and 
framed, but his labours did not end here ; he 
travelled with Keogh, or others, wherever they could 
hope to make converts to the cause, and to form, 
societies of United Irishmen, which name was in- 
vented by him, when he proposed to drop the in- 
vidious distinctions of Catholic, Dissenter, and 
Protestant, and adopt that national denomination. 
I have perceived lately that it is a sort of fashion 
to throw the idea of separation from England solely 
and entirely on Tone. This is not fair. It was his 
belief that if a liberal emancipation of the Catholics 
a full and fair representation of all the people of 
Ireland in an Irish parliament 'When the immense 
resources of the country could be developed and 



1 62 THE LETTERS OF 



honestly applied to the benefit of the country, a 
separation would in a short time be the certain 
consequence ; but he did not think of separation 
till every other hope had failed, nor did he then 
think of it alone. 

Doctor Madden, in his United Irishmen, quotes 
from Tone's life a letter addressed to him in this 
country, dated September, 1795, concluding with 
the words : ' Once more, dear Tone, remember and 
execute your garden conversation,' which he con- 
cludes to be from Emmet and Russell. 

He is mistaken ; it was from John Keogh, of 
Mount Jerome, and I have the original a man 
whom Tone knew to be cautious even to timidity, 
and yet he wished for French aid, and promised in 
the letter that his son Cornelius should join them 
on landing. In another place, Dr. Madden quotes, 
and I think at least carelessly, from the work, that 
the United Irish Club, which Tone was so instru- 
mental in establishing in Dublin, was scarcely 
formed before he lost all influence in it, which the 
doctor attributes to the violence of his measures. 
If he had read or quoted a little further, the following 
lines are : ' a circumstance which mortified me not 
a little at first, and perhaps, had I retained more 
weight in their Councils, I might have prevented, 
as on some occasions I laboured unsuccessfully to 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 163 

prevent, their running into indiscretions, which 
gave their enemies too great advantages over them.' 
There is nothing which the heart so much revolts at 
as to point out even the errors of those who acted 
nobly and sealed their principles with their blood ; 
but it is the truth that Lord Edward Fitzgerald and 
the Sheares who had just arrived from France, in 
the heyday of the revolution, were acting revolution 
before it was made, and joined by all young and 
ardent spirits, spoke and acted with ruinous indiscre- 
tion ; even Dr. Drennan was caught, and published 
that frantic address of ' Citizen soldiers, to arms ! 
Citizens, your country is in danger.' Tone laboured 
in vain to check this folly, but there was no deceit 
in it ; it was honest generous enthusiasm and young 
excitement. About this period, the summer of '95, 
we left Ireland. Before our departure, Tone con- 
sulted with the leaders of each party ; for the 
Catholics, Keogh and McCormack the conversa- 
tion was held in Keogh' s garden at Mount Jerome. 
He adds: 'They, both laid the most positive in- 
junctions upon me to leave nothing unattempted 
on my part to force my way to France, and lay 
our situation before the government there.' We 
went by Belfast, and there again consultations were 
held with the leading men of the Dissenters and 
Defenders ; all were of the same mind, and he adds, 



1 64 THE LETTERS OF 

' I now look upon myself as competent to speak 
fully and with confidence, for the Catholics, for 
the Dissenters, and for the Defenders of Ireland.' 
We sailed in June, '95 he received letters from 
them all,urgently praying him to lose no time. I am 
told that Dr. Madden was twice in New York in 
search of documents for his history. I wonder he did 
not apply to me. I never heard of him till I saw his 
book advertised perhaps he was ignorant of my 
existence, for I live in complete retirement, and, to 
. use Carolan's words : 

"Lonely and desolate I mourn the dead." 
I am ashamed of this rambling and diffuse letter, 
but, under the weight of seventy-three years and 
a broken heart, I cannot make it better, else I would 
write it over again but the subject makes my heart 
beat and my hand tremble, and I am sure I should 
not mend it. I only hope you will find it legible, 
and take the trouble to read it. Remember, I do 
not write for publication.but simply for your own 
information, if you again refer to the subject. I 
should have mentioned that, on leaving Ireland, 
Tone again received the farewell thanks of the 
Catholics of Dublin, for sendees rendered to the 
Catholic body, which no gratitude canover-rate, 
no remuneration overpay ; it was moved by 
Dr. Macneven. 



THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. 



I beg once more to apologise for the trouble I 
give you, and remain, your admirer and constant 
reader, 

MATILDA TOXE WILSON. 



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MARTIN LESTER'S NEW BOOKS. 



FICTION. 

THE WASTED ISLAND. By EIMAR O'DufPY. Crown 8ro. 
480 pp. Cloth boards. Picture wrapper. 7/- net. 

THE GREEN COCKADE. By MRS. M. T. FENDER. Crown STO. 
390 pp. Cloth boards. Picture wrapper. 6/- net. 

MARRIED IN MAY. By MRS. M. T. FENDER. Crown. STO. 
200 pp. Stiff boards. Picture wrapper. 3/6 net. 

THE EAGLE OF GARRYROE. By C. J. KICKHAM. Crown 
8vo. 176 pp. Stiff boards. Picture wrapper. 3/6 net. 

THE LEPRECHAUN OF KILLMEEN. ^By SEUMAS O KEU.Y. 
Crown 8vo. 140 p.p. Stiff boards. Picture Wrapper. 2/6 net. 

EDUCATION. 

EDUCATION IN A FREE IRELAND. By MICHAEL TIERNEY 
M.A. Crown 8vo. 100 pp. Stiff boards, 3/6 net. 

ECONOMICS. 

AN IRISH COMMUNE. The History of Ralahine. Adapted from 
the Narrative of E. T. Craig, with an Introduction by GBCIRGB 
RVSSEU, ("M"). Crown STO. 160 pp. Stiff boards. 5/- net. 

POLITICS. 

THE LIFE OF WOLFE TONE, together with extracts from his 
political writings. Written by himself and completed by his 
son. Crown 8vo. 150 pp. Wrappers. 2/6 net. 

THE LETTERS OF WOLFE TONE, together with letters written 
by his wife and brothers. Crown 8vo. 160 pp. Wrappers, 
2/6 net. 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SINN FEIN. By J. R. WHITE. Crown 
8vo. Wrappers, I/- net. 

PLAYS. 

THE DAUGHTER OF DONAGH. -, A Drama in Four Acts bv 
Alice ~L(. MILWGAN. I)emy 8vo. Stiff boards, 5/- net, 

BRICRIU'S FEAST. A Comedy in Three Acts, with an 3 
by EIMAR O'DinWY. Demy 8vo. 52 pp. Wrap) 
net. 

POETRY. 

A COLLEGE CHORUS. A Collection of Humorous Vers< 

STUDENTS OP UNIVERSITY COHEGE, DUBLIN. Demy STO. 
52 pp. Wrappers, 2/- net. 

DAYS AND DESTINIES. By PEADAR MAC TOMAIS. Demy STO. 
42 pp. Wrappers, 1/6 net. 

POEMS by MARY FRANCES McHtJGH. Demy ST . 24 
Wrappers. 1/6 net. 



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